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Full text of "Andrew Lang's The Violet Fairy Book"

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From New York Public Library. 

May be used for non-commercial, personal, research, 

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May not be indexed in a commercial service. 



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THE 

VIOLET FAIRY BOOK 



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THE FAIRY BOOK SERIES. 

EDITED BY ANDREW LANG. 

Croivn Svo, gill e 



LONGMANS, GREEN, & CO, 

New York London Bombay 



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• 



THE BLUE FAIRY BOOK, With 13S Illustrations. $2.00. J 

THE RED FAIRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. $2.00. \/ / 

THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK. With 99 Illustrations. $2.00. \/, 

THE GREY FAIRY BOOK. With 05 Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE YELLOW FAIRY BOOK. With 104 Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE PINK FAIRY BOOK. With G7 Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE VIOLET FAIRY BOOK. With S Coloured Plates and 54 
other Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75. 

THE CRIMSON FAIRY BOOK. With S Coloured Plates and 
45 other Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75. 

THE BROWN FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 42 
other Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75. 

THE BLUE POETRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE TRUE STORY BOOK. With 66 Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE RED TRUE STORY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. 
$2.00. 

THE ANIMAL STORY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE RED BOOK OF ANIMAL STORIES. With 65 Illus- 
trations. $2.00. 

THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS. With 66 
Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE BOOK OF ROMANCE. With 8 Coloured Plates and 44 
other Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75. 



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L ftgpia dThparoF^gg^ flTobTBfl sisgarsy 1 



THE 



Violet Fairy Book 



EDITED BY 

ANDREW LANG 




WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS BY H. J. FORD 



LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 

91 AND 93 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK 
LONDON AND BOMBAY 

1906 



Copyright, 1901, 

BY 

Longmans, Green, & Co. 



First Edition, October, 1901 

Reprinted, July, 1902, August, 1904 

August 190G 



3Embersitjj 13rrss: 
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U.S.A. 

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J5?? PROPERTY OF THE * 

L cm OF NEW YORK Gr30%3$ ? 



TO VIOLET MYERS 

IS DEDICATED 

THE VIOLET FAIRY ROOK 



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PREFACE 



The Editor takes this opportunity to repeat what he has 
often said before, that he is not the author of the stories 
in the Fairy Books ; that lie did not invent them ' out of 
his own head.' He is accustomed to being asked, by 
ladies, ; Have you written anything else except the Fairy 
Books?' He is then obliged to explain that he has not 
written the Fairy Books, but, save these, has written 
almost everything else, except hymns, sermons, and 
dramatic works. 

The stories in this Violet Fairy Book, as in all the 
others of the series, have been translated out of the popu- 
lar traditional tales in a number of different languages. 
These stories are as old as anything that men have in- 
vented. They are narrated by naked savage women to 
naked savage children. They have been inherited by our 
earliest civilised ancestors, who really believed that beasts 
and trees and stones can talk if they choose, and behave 
kindly or unkindly. The stories are full of the oldest 
ideas of ages when science did not exist, and magic took 
the place of science. Anybody who has the curiosity 
to read the ' Legendary Australian Tales/ which Mrs. 
Laugloh Parker has collected from the lips of the 
Australian savages, will find that these tales are closely 
akin to our own. Who were the first authors of them 
nobody knows — probably the first men and women. Eve 
may have told these tales to amuse Cain and Abel. As 
people grew more civilised and had kings and queens, 



viii PREFACE 

princes and princesses, these exalted persons generally 
were chosen as heroes and heroines. But originally the 
characters were just 'a man/ and ' a woman/ and * a boy/ 
and ' a girl/ with crowds of beasts, birds, and fishes, all 
behaving like human beings. When the nobles and other 
people became rich and educated, they forgot the old 
stories, but the country people did not, and handed them 
down, with changes at pleasure, from generation to gen- 
eration. Then learned men collected and printed the 
country people's stories, and these we have translated, to 
amuse children. Their tastes remain like the tastes of 
their naked ancestors, thousands of years ago, and they 
seem to like fairy tales better than history, poetry, geog- 
raphy, or arithmetic, just as grown-up people like novels 
Detter than anything else. 

This is the whole truth of the matter. I have said so 
before, and I say so again. But nothing will prevent 
children from thinking that I invented the stories, or 
some ladies from being of the same opinion. But who 
really invented the stories nobody knows; it is all so 
long ago, long before reading and writing were invented. 
The first of the stories actually written down, were written 
in Egyptian hieroglyphs, or on Babylonian cakes of clay, 
three or four thousand years before our time. 

Of the stories in this book, Miss Blackley translated 
1 Dwarf Long Nose/ c The Wonderful Beggars/ < The 
Lute Player,' * Two in a Sack/ and ' The Fish that swam 
:3 the Air/ Mr. W. A. Craigie translated from the Scan- 
dinavian, 'Jesper who herded the Hares.' Mrs. Lang 
did the rest. 

Some of the most interesting are from the Rouma- 
nian, and three were previously published in the late Dr. 
Steere's ' Swahili Tales.' By the permission of his rep- 
resentatives these three African stories have here been 
abridged and simplified for children. 

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CONTENTS 



PAGE 

A Tale of the Tontlawald 1 

The finest Liar in the World ...... 17 

The Story of three Wonderful Beggars . ... 23 

Schippeitaro ......... 36 

The Three Princes and their Beasts 41 

The Goat's Ears of the Emperor of Trojan .... 52 
The Nine Pea-hens and the Golden Apples . . .55 

The Lute Player 70 

The Grateful Prince 77 

The Child who came from an Egg ..... 98 

Stan Bolovan Ill 

The Two Frogs . .125 

The Story of a Gazelle 127 

How a Fish swam in the A ir and a Hare in the Water . 148 

Two in a Sack 153 

The Envious Neighbour 160 

The Fairy of the Dawn 165 

The Enchanted Knife ....... 199 

Jesper who herded the Hares 205 

The Underground Workers 217 

The History of Dwarf Long Nose 226 

The Nunda, Eater of People 249 

The Story of Hassebu 263 

The Maiden ivith the Wooden Helmet 270 

The Monkey and the Jelly-fish . . . . . . 275 

The Headless Dwarf Jigit&ed py MicrQSOft® . . 281 



x CONTENTS 

PAGE 

The young Man who would have his Eyes opened . . 294 

The Boys with the Golden Stars 299 

The Frog 311 

The Princess who was hidden Underground . . . 316 

The Girl who pretended to be a Boy 320 

The Story of Halfman 345 

The Prince who wanted to see the World .... 356 

Virgilius the Sorcerer 364 

Mogarzea and his Son 380 





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ILLUSTRATIONS 



COLOURED PLATES 



The Emperor meets the three Sisters 
The Tontlawald .... 
The Witch and the Prince 

* Gazelle ..... 
The Whirlwind seizes the Wreath . 
Morning Glory the Fairy of the Dawn 
The Nunda, Eater of People 
The Girl with the Wooden Helmet . 



Frontispiece 
to face p. 8 
" 50 

146 
188 
196 
254 
272 



FULL-PAGE PLATES 

The Woodcutter in the Tontlawald 
How the Old Man disappeared after Dinner . 
The Fairies catch the Baby .... 
The Beautiful Woman soothes the Serpent-King 
The faithful Beasts wept round the dead Body of the 

Prince ..... 
Under the Golden Apple Tree 
The Dragon flies off with the Empres, 
The Lute Player .... 
The Fairy and Dotterine pass unseen through the 

Camp of the Enemy .... 
The Gazelle brings the Diamond to the Sultan . 
Petru has to turn back ..... 
The Battle with the Welwa in the Copper Wood 
A mong the Flowers were lovely Maidens calling to him 

with soft Voices 
The Princess at the Curtain . 
The Underground Workers . 
The Prince finds the Nunda . 
The Monkey brought to Otohime 
A Dwarf was in the Bell 
Hans fights the Headless Dwarfs 
The Boys with the Golden Stars 



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to face p. 2 
10 
24 
30 

46 
56 
60 
70 

104 
130 
170 
174 

184 

200 

218 

258 

276 

" 282 

" 288 

" 306 



xii ILL US TEA TIONS 

The Princess charges the Lion . . . . to face p. 326 

Virgilius and the Evil Spirit . . . . " 366 

Febilla's Punishment . . . . . . " 370 

Virgilius the Sorcerer carries away the Princess of 

Babylon " 376 

Mogarzea and his Son return Home . . . " 384 



while his left Ey< 



e icept 



IN TEXT 

The Best Bee 

Defeat of the Mountain- Spirit by the Youth and Schippeitaro 

The Lion and the Fox come to the Rescue . 

The Prince meets a strange Man in the Wood 

How the Black Cow icas tricked . 

The Flight along the Hedge of Peas . 

Your Heart is heavy with two Sorrows 

Stan Bolovan meets his Family . 

Stan Bolovan outwits the Dragon 

The Dragon alarmed ..... 

The Gazelle brings Clothes to his blaster 

The Gazelle cuts off the Serpent's Heads 

Two out of a Sack 

In future leave the Stick alone 

The Emperor ivhose right Eye laughed 

Petru wakes the Giant up . 

The Enchanted Knife 

A Hare for a Kiss 

Jem follows the Old Woman 

Hannah does not recognise Jem . 

The Goose finds the Magic Herb 

Hassebu and the Serpent-King . 

The Impudent Young Men 

What the Young Man saiv in the Wood 

The Stepmother digs a Grave for the Babies , 

The Punishment of the Stepmother 

The Witches laughing .... 

Fet-Fruners and lliane escape from the Mother of the Genius 

The Prince feeds the Baby from his Flask 

For a moment the Dove's Head becomes that of a beautiful Girl 

The Copper Horse 

Where do you come from ? . 

The Boy pipes to the Elves . 



PAGE 

19 
37 
43 
80 
87 
92 
99 
113 
116 
123 
135 
139 
154 
158 
166 
193 
203 
213 
228 
233 
247 
267 
272 
297 
302 
310 
315 
337 
357 
359 
375 
381 
383 



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A TALE OF THE TONTLAWALD 

Long, long ago there stood in the midst of a country 
covered with lakes a vast stretch of moorland called the 
Tontlawald, on which no man ever dared set foot. 
From time to time a few bold spirits had been drawn by 
curiosity to its borders, and on their return had reported 
that they had caught a glimpse of a ruined house in a 
grove of thick trees, and round about it were a crowd of 
beings resembling men, swarming over the grass like 
bees. The men were as dirty and ragged as gipsies, 
and there were besides a quantity of old women and half- 
naked children. 

One night a peasant who was returning home from a 
feast wandered a little farther into the Tontlawald, and 
came back with the same story. A countless number of 
women and children were gathered round a huge fire, 
and some were seated on the ground, while others danced 
strange dances on the smooth grass. One old crone had 
a broad iron ladle in her hand, with which every now 
and then she stirred the fire, but the moment she touched 
the glowing ashes the children rushed away, shrieking 
like night owls, and it was a long while before they ven- 
tured to steal back. And besides all this there had once 
or twice been seen a little old man with a long beard 
creeping out of the forest, canying a sack bigger than 
himself. The women and children ran by his side, weep- 
ing and trying to drag the sack from off his back, but he 
shook them off, and went on his way. There was also a 

l 



2 A TALE OF THE TONTLAWALD 

tale of a magnificent black cat as large as a foal, but men 
could not believe all the wonders told by the peasant, 
and it was difficult to make out what was true and what 
was false in his story. However, the fact remained that 
strange things did happen there, and the King of Sweden, 
to whom this part of the country belonged, more than 
once gave orders to cut down the haunted wood, but 
there was no one with courage enough to obey his com- 
mands. At length one man, bolder than the rest, struck 
his axe into a tree, but his blow was followed by a stream 
of blood and shrieks as of a human creature in pain. 
The terrified woodcutter fled as fast as his legs would 
carry him, and after that neither orders nor threats 
would drive anybody to the enchanted moor. 

A few miles from the Tontlawald was a large village, 
where dwelt a peasant who had recently married a young 
wife. As not uncommonly happens in such cases, she 
turned the whole house upside down, and the two 
quarrelled and fought all day long. 

By his first wife the peasant had a daughter called 
Elsa, a good quiet girl, who only wanted to live in peace, 
but this her stepmother would not allow. She beat 
and cuffed the poor child from morning till night, but as 
the stepmother had the whip-hand of her husband there 
was no remedy. 

For two years Elsa suffered all this ill-treatment, 
when one day she went out with the other village children 
to pluck strawberries. Carelessly they wandered on, 
till at last they reached the edge of the Tontlawald, where 
the finest strawberries grew, making the grass red with 
their colour. The children flung themselves down on 
the ground, and, after eating as many as they wanted, 
began to pile up their baskets, when suddenly a cry arose 
from one of the older boys : 

4 Run, run as fast as you can ! We are in the Tontla- 
wald!' 

Quicker than lightning they sprang to their feet, and 




f THE V0ODCVTTERJuj?HiE TONTLttWALD 



IN; J 



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A TALE OF THE TONTLAWALD 5 

rushed madly away, all except Elsa, who had strayed 
farther than the rest, and had found a bed of the finest 
strawberries right under the trees. Like the others, she 
heard the boy's cry, but could not make up her mind to 
leave the strawberries. 

'After all, what does it matter?' thought she. 'The 
dwellers in the Tontlawald cannot be worse than my 
stepmother ' ; and looking up she saw a little black dog 
with a silver bell on its neck come barking towards her, 
followed by a maiden clad all in silk. 

4 Be quiet/ said she ; then turning to Elsa she added : 
4 I am so glad you did not run away with the other 
children. Stay here with me and be my friend, and we 
will play delightful games together, and every day we will 
go and gather strawberries. Nobody will dare to beat 
you if I tell them not. Come, let us go to my mother ' ; 
and taking Elsa's hand she led her deeper into the wood, 
the little black dog jumping up beside them and barking 
with pleasure. 

Oh 1 what wonders and splendours unfolded them- 
selves before Elsa's astonished eyes ! She thought she 
really must be in Heaven. Fruit trees and bushes loaded 
with fruit stood before them, while birds gayer than the 
brightest butterfly sat in their branches and filled the air 
with their song. And the birds were not shy, but let the 
girls take them in their hands, and stroke their gold and 
silver feathers. In the centre of the garden was the 
dwelling-house, shining with glass and precious stones, 
and in the doorway sat a woman in rich garments, who 
turned to Elsa's companion and asked : 

4 W T hat sort of a guest are you bringing to me?' 

4 1 found her alone in the wood,' replied her daughter, 
4 and brought her back with me for a companion. Yon 
will let her stay ? ' 

The mother laughed, but said nothing, only she looked 
Elsa up and down sharply. Then she told the girl to 
come near, and stroked her cheeks and spoke kindly to 



6 A TALE OF THE TONTLAWALD 

her, asking if her parents were alive, and if she really 
would like to stay with them. Elsa stooped and kissed her 
hand, then, kneeling down, buried her face in the woman's 
lap, and sobbed out : 

4 My mother has lain for many years under the ground. 
My father is still alive, but I am nothing to him, and my 
stepmother beats me all the day long. I can do nothing 
right, so let me, I pray you, stay with you. I will look 
after the flocks or do any work you tell me ; I will obey 
your lightest word; only do not, I entreat you, send me 
back to her. She will half kill me for not having come 
back with the other children.' 

And the woman smiled and answered, * Well, we will 
see what we can do with you,' and, rising, went into the 
house. 

Then the daughter said to Elsa, ' Fear nothing, my 
mother will be your friend. I saw by the way she looked 
that she would grant your request when she had thought 
over it,' and, telling Elsa to wait, she entered the house to 
seek her mother. Elsa meanwhile was tossed about 
between hope and fear, and felt as if the girl would never 
come. 

At last Elsa saw her crossing the grass with a box in 
her hand. 

' My mother says we may play together to-day, as she 
wants to make up her mind what to do about } t ou. But 
I hope you will stay here always, as I can't bear you to 
go away. Have you ever been on the sea? ' 

6 The sea?' asked Elsa, staring ; 6 what is that? I 've 
never heard of such a thing ! ' 

' Oh, I'll soon show you,' answered the girl, taking the 
lid from the box, and at the very bottom lay a scrap of a 
cloak, a mussel shell, and two fish seales. Two drops of 
water were glistening on the cloak, and these the girl 
shook on the ground. In an instant the garden and lawn 
and everything else had vanished utterly, as if the earth 
had opened and swallowed them up.&ind as far as the eye 



A TALE OF THE TOXTLAWALD 7 

could reach you could see nothing but water, which 
seemed at last to touch heaven itself. Only under their 
feet was a tiny dry spot. Then the girl placed the mussel 
shell on the water and took the fish scales in her hand. 
The mussel shell grew bigger and bigger, and turned into 
a pretty little boat, which would have held a dozen 
children. The girls stepped in, Elsa very cautiously, for 
which she was much laughed at by her friend, who used 
the fish scales for a rudder. The waves rocked the girls 
softly, as if they were lying in a cradle, and they floated 
on till they met other boats filled with men, singing and 
making merry. 

6 We must sing you a song in return,' said the girl, but 
as Elsa did not know any songs, she had to sing by herself. 
Elsa could not understand any of the men's songs, but one 
word, she noticed, came over and over again, and that 
was ' Kisika.' Elsa asked what it meant, and the girl 
replied that it was her name. 

It was all so pleasant that they might have stayed there 
for ever had not a voice cried out to them, ; Children, it is 
time for you to come home ! ' 

So Kisika took the little box out of her pocket, with 
the piece of cloth lying in it, and dipped the cloth in the 
water, and lo ! they were standing close to a splendid 
house in the middle of the garden. Everything round 
them was dry and firm, and there was no water anywhere. 
The mussel shell and the fish scales were put back in the 
box, and the girls went in. 

They entered a large hall, where four and twenty richly 
dressed women were sitting round a table, looking as if 
they were about to attend a wedding. At the head of the 
table sat the lady of the house in a golden chair. 

Elsa did not know which way to look, for everything 
that met her eyes was more beautiful than she could have 
dreamed possible. But she sat down with the rest, and 
ate some delicious fruit, and thought she must be in 
heaven. The guests talked softly, but their speech was 



8 A TALE OF THE TONTLAWALD 

strange to Elsa, aucl she understood nothing of what was 
said. Then the hostess turned round and whispered 
something to a maid behind her chair, and the maid left 
the hall, and when she came back she brought a little old 
man w T ith her, who had a beard longer than himself. He 
bowed low to the lady and then stood quietly near the door. 

k Do you see this girl ?' said the lady of the house, 
pointing to Elsa. ' I wisli to adopt her for my daughter. 
Make me a copy of her, which we can send to her native 
village instead of herself.' 

The old man looked Elsa all up and down, as if he 
was taking her measure, bowed again to the lad} 7 , and left 
the hall. After dinner the lady said kindly to Elsa, 
' Kisika has begged me to let you stay with her, and you 
have told her you would like to live here. Is that so?' 

At these words Elsa fell on her knees, and kissed the 
lady's hands and feet in gratitude for her escape from her 
cruel stepmother; but her hostess raised her from the 
ground and patted her head, saying, ' All will go well as 
long as you are a good, obedient child, and I will take 
care of you and see that you want for nothing till you are 
grown up and can look after yourself. My waiting-maid, 
who teaches Kisika all sorts of fine handiwork, shall 
teach you too/ 

Not long after the old mau came back with a mould 
full of clay on his shoulders, and a little covered basket 
in his left hand. He put down his mould and his basket 
on the ground, took up a handful of clay, and made a doll 
as large as life. When it was finished he bored a hole in 
the doll's breast and put a bit of bread inside ; then, 
drawing a snake out of the basket, forced it to enter the 
hollow body. 

1 Now/ he said to the lady, ; all we want is a drop of 
the maiden's blood.' 

When she heard this Elsa grew white with horror, for 
she thought she was selling her soul to the evil one. 

' Do not be afraid ! ' the lady hastened to say ; ' we do 

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A TALE OF THE TONTLAWALD 9 

not want your blood for any bad purpose, but rather to 
give you freedom and happiness.' 

Then she took a tiny golden needle, pricked Elsa in the 
arm, and gave the needle to the old man, who stuck it into 
the heart of the doll. When this was done he placed the 
figure in the basket, promising that the next day they 
should all see what a beautiful piece of work he had 
finished. 

When Elsa awoke the next morning in her silken bed, 
with its soft white pillows, she saw a beautiful dress lying 
over the back of a chair, ready for her to put on. A 
maid came in to comb out her long hair, and brought the 
finest linen for her use ; but nothing gave Elsa so much 
joy as the little pair of embroidered shoes that she held 
in her hand, for the girl had hitherto been forced to run 
about barefoot by her cruel stepmother. In her excite- 
ment she never gave a thought to the rough clothes she 
had worn the day before, which had disappeared as if by 
magic during the night. Who could have taken them? 
Well, she was to know that by-and-by. But we can 
guess that the doll had been dressed in them, which was 
to go back to the village in her stead. By the time the 
sun rose the doll had attained her full size, and no one 
could have told one girl from the other. Elsa started 
back when she met herself as she looked only yesterday. 

w You must not be frightened,' said the lady, when she 
noticed her terror; ' this clay figure can do you no harm. 
It is for your stepmother, that she may beat it instead of 
you. Let her flog it as hard as she will, it can never 
feel any pain. And if the wicked woman does not come 
one day to a better mind your double will be able at 
last to give her the punishment she deserves.' 

From this moment Elsa's life was that of the ordinary 
happy child, who has been rocked to sleep in her baby- 
hood in a lovely golden cradle. She had no cares or 
troubles of any sort, and every day her tasks became 
easier, and the years that had gone before seemed more 



10 A TALE OF THE TONTLAWALD 

and more like a bad dream. But the happier she grew 
the deeper was her wonder at everything around her, and 
the more firmly she was persuaded that some great 
unknown power must be at the bottom of it all. 

In the courtyard stood a huge granite block about 
twenty steps from the house, and when meal times came 
round the old man with the long beard went to the block, 
drew out a small silver staff, and struck the stone with 
it three times, so that the sound could be heard a long 
way off. At the third blow, out sprang a large golden 
cock, and stood upon the stone. ■ Whenever he crowed 
and flapped his wings the rock opened and something 
came out of it. First a long table covered with dishes 
ready laid for the number of persons who would be seated 
round it, and this flew into the house all by itself. 

When the cock crowed for the second time, a number 
of chairs appeared, and flew after the table ; then wine, 
apples, and other fruit, all without trouble to anybody. 
After everybody had had enough, the old man struck the 
rock again, the golden cock crowed afresh, and back went 
dishes, table, chairs, and plates into the middle of the 
block. 

When, however, it came to the turn of the thirteenth 
dish, which nobody ever wanted to eat, a huge black cat 
ran up, and stood on the rock close to the cock, while the 
dish was on his other side. There they all remained, till 
they were joiued by the old man. 

He picked up the dish in one hand, tucked the cat 
under his arm, told the cock to get on his shoulder, and 
all four vanished into the rock. And this wonderful 
stone contained not only food, but clothes and everything 
you could possibly want in the house. 

At first a language was often spoken at meals which 
was strange to Els a, but by the help of the lady and her 
daughter she began slowly to understand it, though it was 
years before she was able to speak it herself. 

One day she asked Kisika why the thirteenth dish 




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A TALE OF THE TONTLAWALD 13 

came daily to the table and was sent daily away un- 
touched, but Kisika knew no more about it than she did. 
The girl must, however, have told her mother what Elsa 
had said, for a few days later she spoke to Elsa 
seriously : 

' Do not worry yourself with useless wondering. 
You wish to know why we never eat of the thirteenth 
dish? That, dear child, is the dish of hidden blessings, 
and we cannot taste of it without bringing our happy life 
here to an end. And the world would be a great deal 
better if men, in their greed, did not seek to snatch every- 
thing for themselves, instead of leaving something as a 
thankoffering to the giver of the blessings. Greed is 
man's worst fault.' 

The years passed like the wind for Elsa, and she grew 
into a lovely woman, with a knowledge of many things 
that she would never have learned in her native village ; 
but Kisika was still the same young girl that she had 
been on the day of her first meeting with Elsa. Each 
morning they both worked for an hour at reading and 
writing, as they had always done, and Elsa was anxious 
to learn all she could, but Kisika much preferred childish 
games to anything else. If the humour seized her, she 
would fling aside her tasks, take her treasure box, and go 
off to play in the sea, where no harm ever came to her. 

1 What a pity,' she would often say to Elsa, ' that you 
have grown so big, you cannot play with me any more.' 

Nine years slipped away in this manner, when one 
day the lady called Elsa into her room. Elsa was sur- 
prised at the summons, for it was unusual, and her heart 
sank, for she feared some evil threatened her. As she 
crossed the threshold, she saw that the lady's cheeks 
were flushed, and her eyes full of tears, which she dried 
hastily, as if she would conceal them from the girl. 
' Dearest child,' she began, 'the time has come when we 
must part.' 

'Part?' cried Elsa, burying her head in the lady's 



14 A TALE OF THE TONTLAWALD 

lap. ' No, dear lady, that cau never be till death parts us. 
You once opened your arms to me ; you cannot thrust 
me away now.' 

4 Ah, be quiet, child,' replied the lady ; ; you do not 
know what I would do to make you happy. Now you 
are a woman, and I have no right to keep yon here. 
You must return to the world of men, where joy awaits 
you.' 

4 Dear lady,' entreated Elsa again. i Do not, I beseech 
you, send me from you. I want no other happiness but 
to live and die beside you. Make me your waiting-maid, 
or set me to any work you choose, but do not cast me 
forth into the world. It would have been better if you 
had left me with my stepmother, than first to have 
brought me to heaven and then sent me back to a worse 
place.' 

4 Do not talk like that, dear child,' replied the lady; 
'you do not know all that must be done to secure your 
happiness, however much it costs me. But it has to be. 
You are only a common mortal, who will have to die one 
day, and you cannot stay here any longer. Though we 
have the bodies of men, we are not men at all, though it 
is not easy for you to understand why. Some day or 
other you will find a husbaud who has been made ex- 
pressly for you, aud will live happily with him till death 
separates you. It will be very hard for me to part from 
you, but it has to be, and you must make up your mind 
to it.' Then she drew her golden comb gently through 
Elsa's hair, and bade her go to bed ; but little sleep had 
the poor girl ! Life seemed to stretch before her like a 
dark starless night. 

Now let us look back a moment, and see what had 
been going on in Elsa's native village all these years, and 
how her double had fared. It is a well-known fact that 
a bad woman seldom becomes better as she grows older, 
and Elsa's stepmother was no exception to the rule ; but 
as the figure that had taken the ghTs place could feel no 



A TALE OF THE TONTLAWALD 15 

pain, the blows that were showered on her night and day 
made no difference. If the father ever tried to come to 
his daughter's help, his wife turned upon him, and things 
were rather worse than before. 

One day the stepmother had given the girl a frightful 
beating, and then threatened to kill her outright. Mad 
with rage, she seized the figure by the throat with both 
hands, when out came a black snake from her mouth and 
stung the woman's tongue, and she fell dead without a 
sound. At night, when the husband came home, he found 
his w T ife lying dead upon the ground, her body all swollen 
and disfigured, but the girl was nowhere to be seen. 
His screams brought the neighbours from their cottages, 
but they were unable to explain how it had all come 
about. It was true, they said, that about mid-day they 
had heard a great noise, but as that was a matter of daily 
occurrence they did not think much of it. The rest of 
the day all was still, but no one had seen anything of the 
daughter. The body of the dead woman was then prepared 
for burial, and her tired husband went to bed, rejoicing 
in his heart that he had been delivered from the firebrand 
who had made his home unpleasant. On the table he 
saw a slice of bread lying, and, being hungry, he ate it 
before going to sleep. 

In the morning he too was found dead, and as 
swollen as his wife, for the bread had been placed in the 
body of the figure by the old man who made it. A few 
days later he was placed in the grave beside his wife, but 
nothing more was ever heard of their daughter. 

All night long after her talk with the lady Elsa had 
wept and wailed her hard fate in being cast out from her 
home which she loved. 

Next morning, when she got up, the lady placed a gold 
seal ring on her finger, strung a little golden box on a 
ribbon, and placed it round her neck ; then she called the 
old man, and, forcing back her tears, took leave of Elsa. 
The girl tried to speak, but before she could sob out her 



16 A TALE OF THE TONTLAWALD 

thanks the old man had touched her softly on the head 
three times with his silver staff. In an instant Elsa knew 
that she was turning into a bird: wings sprang from 
beneath her arms; her feet were the feet of eagles, with 
long claws ; her nose curved itself into a sharp beak, and 
feathers covered- her body. Then she soared high in the 
air, and floated up towards the clouds, as if she had really 
been hatched an eagle. 

For several days she flew steadily south, resting from 
time to time when her wings grew tired, for hunger she 
never felt. And so it happened that one day she was 
flying over a dense forest, and below hounds were barking 
fiercely, because, not having wings themselves, she was out 
of their reach. Suddenly a sharp pain quivered through 
her body, and she fell to the ground, pierced by an arrow. 

AVhen Elsa recovered her senses, she found herself lying 
under a bush iu her own proper form. What had befallen 
her, and how she got there, lay behind her like a bad dream. 
As she was wondering what she should do next the 
king's son came riding by, and, seeing Elsa, sprang from 
his horse, and took her by the hand, saying, 'Ah! it was a 
happy chance that brought me here this morning. Every 
night, for half a year, have I dreamed, dear lady, that I 
should one day find you in this wood. And although I 
have passed through it hundreds of times in vain, I have 
never given up hope. To-day I was going in search of a 
large eagle that I had shot, and instead of the eagle I 
have found — you.' Then he took Elsa on his horse, and 
rode with her to the town, where the old king received 
her graciously. 

A few clays later the wedding took place, and as Elsa 
was arranging the veil upon her hair fifty carts arrived laden 
with beautiful things which the lady of the Tontlawald 
]iad sent to Elsa. And after the king's death Elsa became 
queen, and when she was old she told this story. But 
that was the last that was ever heard of the Tontlawald. 

[From Ehstnisehe Marchen.] 



17 



THE FINEST LIAR IN THE WORLD 

At the edge of a wood there lived an old man who had 
only one son, and one day he called the boy to him and 
said he wanted some corn ground, but the youth must be 
sure never to enter any mill where the miller was beard- 
less. 

The boy took the corn and set out, and before he had 
gone very far he saw a large mill in front of him, with a 
beardless man standing in the doorway. 

' Good greeting, beardless one ! ' cried he. 

' Good greeting, sonny,' replied the man. 

' Could I grind something here ? ' 

' Yes, certainly ! I will finish what I am doing and 
then you can grind as long as you like/ 

But suddenly the boy remembered what his father 
had told him, and bade farewell to the man, and went 
further down the river, till he came to another mill, 
not knowing that as soon as his back was turned the 
beardless man had picked up a bag of corn and run 
hastily to the same mill before him. When the boy 
reached the second mill, and saw a second beardless man 
sitting there, he did not stop, and walked on till he came 
to a third mill. But this time also the beardless man had 
ceen too clever for him, and had arrived first by another 
road. When it happened a fourth time the boy grew 
cross, and said to himself, ' It is no good going on ; there 
seems to be a beardless man in every mill ' ; and he took 
his sack from his back, and made up his mind to grind 
his corn where he was. by Micro 



18 THE FIJXEST LIAR IN THE WORLD 

The beardless man finished grinding his own corn, 
and when he had done he said to the boy, who was 
beginning to grind his, ' Suppose, sonny, we make a cake 
of what you have there.' 

Now the boy had been rather uneasy when he re- 
collected his father's words, but he thought to himself, 
1 What is done cannot be undone,' and answered, ' Very 
well, so let it be.' 

Then the beardless one got up, threw the flour into 
the tub, and made a hole in the middle, telling the boy to 
fetch some water from the river in his two hands, to mix 
the cake. When the cake was ready for baking they 
put it on the fire, and covered it with hot ashes, till it was 
cooked through. Then they leaned it up against the wall, 
for it was too big to go into a cupboard, and the beardless 
one said to the boy : 

' Look here, sonny : if we share this cake we shall 
neither of us have enough. Let us see who can tell the 
biggest lie, and the one who lies the best shall have the 
whole cake.' 

The boy, not knowing what else to do, answered, ' All 
right; you begin.' 

So the beardless one began to lie with all his might, 
and when he was tired of inventing new lies the boy said 
to him, ' My good fellow, if that is all you can do it is 
not much ! Listen to me, and I will tell you a true story. 
4 In my youth, when I was an old man, we had a 
quantity of beehives. Every morning when I got up I 
counted them over, and it was quite easy to number the 
bees, but I never could reckon the hives properly. One 
day, as I was counting the bees, I discovered that my best 
bee was missing, and without losing a moment I saddled 
a cock and went out to look for him. I traced him as far 
as the shore, and knew that he had crossed the sea, and 
chat I must follow. When I had reached the other side I 
found a man had harnessed my bee to a plough, and with 
his help was sowing millet seed. 



THE FINEST LIAR IN THE WORLD 19 

' " That is my bee ! " I shouted. " Where did you get 
him from? " 




THE BEST BEE 



< u Brother," replied the man, "if he is yours, take 
him.'* And he not only gave me back my bee, but a sack 



20 THE FINEST LIAR IN THE WORLD 

of millet seed into the bargain, because he had made use 
of my bee. Then I put the bag on my shoulders, took 
the saddle from the cock, and placed it on the back of 
the bee, which I mounted, leading the cock by a string, so 
that he should have a rest. As we were flying home 
over the sea one of the strings that held the bag of 
millet broke in two, and the sack dropped straight into 
the ocean. It was quite lost, of course, and there was 
no use thinking about it, and by the time we were safe 
back again night had come. I then got down from my 
bee, and let him loose, that he might get his supper, gave 
the cock some hay, and went to sleep myself. But when 
I awoke with the sun what a scene met my eyes! During 
the night wolves had come and had eaten my bee. And 
honey lay ankle-deep in the valley and knee-deep on the 
hills. Then I began to consider how I could best collect 
some, to take home with me. 

' Now it happened that I had with me a small hatchet, 
and this I took to the wood, hoping to meet some animal 
which I could kill, whose skin I might turn into a bag. 
As I entered the forest I saw two roe-deer hopping on 
one foot, so I slew them with a single blow, and made 
three bags from their skins, all of which I filled with 
honey and placed on the back of the cock. At length I 
reached home, where I was told that my father had 
just been born, and that I must go at once to fetch 
some holy water to sprinkle him with. As I went I 
turned over in my mind if there was no way for me to 
get back my millet seed, which had dropped into the sea, 
and when I arrived at the place with the holy water I 
saw the seed had fallen on fruitful soil, and was growing 
before my eyes. And more than that, it was even cut by 
an invisible hand, and made into a cake. 

' So I took the cake as well as the holy water, and was 
flying back with them over the sea, when there fell a great 
rain, and the sea was swollen, and swept away my millet 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 



THE FINEST LIAR IN THE WORLD 21 

cake. Ah, how vexed I was at its loss when I was safe 
on earth again. 

i Suddenly I remembered that my hair was very long. 
If I stood it touched the ground, although if I was sitting 
it only reached my ears. I seized a knife and cut off a 
large lock, which I plaited together, and when night came 
tied it into a knot, and prepared to use it for a pillow. 
But what was I to do for a fire ? A tinder box I had, but 
no wood. Then it occurred to me that I had stuck a 
needle in my clothes, so I took the needle and split it . 
in pieces, and lit it, then laid myself down by the fire and 
went to sleep. But ill-luck still pursued me. While I 
was sleeping a spark from the fire lighted on the hair, 
which was burnt up in a moment. In despair I threw 
myself on the ground, and instantly sank in it as far as 
my waist. I struggled to get out, but only fell in further ; 
so I ran to the house, seized a spade, dug myself out, 
and took home the holy water. On the way I noticed 
that the ripe fields were full of reapers, and suddenly the 
air became so frightfully hot that the men dropped 
down in a faint. Then I called to them, "Why don't 
you bring out our mare, which is as tall as two days, and 
as broad as half a day, and make a shade for yourselves? " 
My father heard what I said and jumped quickly on the 
mare, and the reapers worked with a will in the shadow, 
while I snatched up a wooden pail to bring them some 
water to drink. When I got to the well everything was 
frozen hard, so in order to draw some water I had to 
take off my head and break the ice with it. As I drew 
near them, carrying the water, the reapers all cried out, 
" Why, what has become of your head? " I put up my 
hand and discovered that I really had no head, and that 
I must have left it in the well. I ran back to look for it, 
but found that meanwhile a fox which was passing by 
had pulled my head out of the water, and was tearing at 
my brains. I stole cautiously up to him, and gave him 
such a kick that he uttered a loud scream, and let fall a 



22 THE FINEST LIAR IN THE WORLD 

parchment on which was written, " The cake is mine, and 
the beardless one goes empty-handed." ' 

With these words the boy rose, took the cake, and 
went home, while the beardless one remained behind to 
swallow his disappointment. 

[Volksraarchen der Serben.] 



Digitized by Microsoft ® 



23 



TEE STORY OF THREE WONDERFUL 
BEGGARS 

There once lived a merchant whose name was Mark, 
and wiiom people called ; Mark the Rich.' He was a very 
hard-hearted man, for he could not bear poor people, and 
if he caught sight of a beggar anywhere near his house, 
he would order the servants to drive him away, or would 
set the dogs at him. 

One day three very poor old men came begging to 
the door, and just as he was going to let the fierce dogs 
loose on them, his little daughter, Anastasia, crept close 
up to him and said : 

4 Dear daddy, let the poor old men sleep here to-night, 
do — to please me.' 

Her father could not bear to refuse her, and the 
three beggars were allowed to sleep in a loft, and at 
night, when everyone in the house was fast asleep, 
little Anastasia got up, climbed up to the loft, and peeped 
in. 

The three old men stood in the middle of the loft, 
leaning on their sticks, with their long grey beards flow- 
ing down over their hands, and were talking together in 
low voices. 

' What news is there? ' asked the eldest. 

{ In the next village the peasant Ivan has just had his 
seventh son. What shall we name him, and what for- 
tune shall we give him?' said the second. 

The third whispered, ' Call him Vassili, and give him 
all the property of the hard-hearted man in whose 



24 THE THREE WONDERFUL BEGGARS 

loft we stand, and who wanted to drive us from his 
door.' 

After a little more talk the three made themselves 
ready and crept softly away. 

Anastasia, who had heard every word, ran straight to 
her father, and told him all. 

Mark was very much surprised ; he thought, and 
thought, and in the morning he drove to the next village 
to try and find out if such a child really had been born. 
He went first to the priest, and asked him about the 
children in his parish. 

' Yesterday,' said the priest, ' a boy was born in the 
poorest house in the village. I named the unlucky little 
thing " Vassili." He is the seventh son, and the eldest 
is only seven years old, and they.hardly have a mouthful' 
amongst- them all. Who can be got to stand godfather to 
such a little beggar boy ? ' 

The merchant's heart beat fast, and his mind was full 
of bad thoughts about that poor little baby. He would 
be godfather himself, he said, and he ordered a fine 
christening feast; so the child was brought and christ- 
ened, and Mark was very friendly to its father. After 
the ceremony was over he took Ivan aside and said : 

' Look hero, my friend, you are a poor man. How 
can you afford to bring up the boy? Give him tome 
and I'll make something of him, and I'll give you a 
present of a thousand crowns. Is that a bargain?' 

Ivan scratched his head, and thought, and thought, 
and then he agreed. Mark counted out the money, 
wrapped the baby up in a fox skin, laid it in the sledge 
beside him, and drove back towards home. When he 
had driven some miles he drew up, carried the child to 
the edge of a steep precipice and threw it over, mutter- 
ing, ' There, now try to take my property!' 

Very soon after this some foreign merchants travelled 
along that same road od the way to see Mark and to 
pay the twelve thousand crowns which they owed him. 




THE FAIRIES CATCH THE BABY 



Digitized by Microsoft® 



THE THREE WONDERFUL BEGGARS 27 

As they were passing near the precipice they heard a 
sound of crying, and on looking over they saw a little 
green meadow wedged in between two great heaps of 
snow, and on the meadow lay a baby amongst the 
flowers. 

The merchants picked up the child, wrapped it up 
carefully, and drove on. When they saw Mark they 
told him what a strange thing they had found. Mark 
guessed at once that the child must be his godson, asked 
to see him, and said : 

4 That's a nice little fellow ; I should like to keep him. 
If you will make him over to me, I will let you off your 
debt.' 

The merchants were very pleased to make so good a 
bargain, left the child with Mark, and drove off. 

At night Mark took the child, put it in a barrel, 
fastened the lid tight down, and threw it into the sea. 
The barrel floated away to a great distance, and at last it 
floated close up to a monastery. The monks were just 
spreading out their nets to dry on the shore, when they 
heard the sound of crying. It seemed to come from the 
barrel which was bobbing about near the water's edge. 
They drew it to land and opened it, and there was a little 
child ! When the abbot heard the news, he decided to 
bring up the boy, and named him ' Vassili.' 

The boy lived on with the monks, and grew up to be 
a clever, gentle, and handsome young man. No one 
could read, write, or sing better than he, and he did 
everything so well that the abbot made him wardrobe 
keeper. 

Now, it happened about this time that the merchant, 
Mark, came to the monastery in the course of a journey. 
The monks were very polite to him and showed him their 
house and church and all they had. When he went into 
the church the choir was singing, and one voice was so 
clear and beautiful, that he asked who it belonged to 
Then the abbot told him of the wonderful way in 



28 THE THREE WONDERFUL BEGGARS 

which Vassili had come to them, aud Mark saw clearly 
that this must be his godson whom he had twice tried to 
kill. 

He said to the abbot : ' I can't tell you how much I 
enjoy that young man's singing. If he could only come 
to me I would make him overseer of all my business. As 
you say, he is so good and clever. Do spare him to me. I 
will make his fortune, and will present your monastery 
with twenty thousand crowns.' 

The abbot hesitated a good deal, but he consulted all 
the other monks, and at last they decided that they ought 
not to stand in the way of Vassili's good fortune. 

Then Mark wrote a letter to his wife and gave it to 
Vassili to take to her, and this was what was in the letter : 
4 When the bearer of this arrives, take him into the soap 
factory, and when you pass near the great boiler, push 
him in. If you don't obey my orders I shall be very 
angry, for this young man is a bad fellow who is sure to 
ruin us all if he lives.' 

Vassili had a good voyage, and on landing set off on 
foot for Mark's home. On the way he met three 
beggars, who asked him : 4 Where are you going, 
Vassili?' 

' I am going to the house of Mark the Merchant, and 
have a letter for his wife,' replied Vassili. 

' Show us the letter. ' 

Vassili handed them the letter. They blew on it and 
gave it back to him, saying : ' Now go and give the letter 
to Mark's wife. You will not be forsaken.' 

Vassili reached the house and gave the letter. When 
the mistress read it she could hardly believe her eyes and 
called for her daughter. In the letter was written, quite 
plainly : ' When you receive this letter, get ready for a 
wedding, and let the bearer be married next day to my 
daughter, Anastasia. If you don't obey my orders I shall 
be ver} r angry.' 

Anastas^^Jhe^ar^.oMhe letter and he pleased 



THE THREE WONDERFUL BEGGARS 29 

ner very much. They dressed Vassili in fine clothes and 
next day he was married to Anastasia. 

In due time, Mark returned from his travels. His 
wife, daughter, and son-in-law all went out to meet him. 
When Mark saw Vassili he flew into a terrible rage with 
his wife. 'How dared you marry my daughter without 
my consent?' he asked. 

' I only carried out your orders,' said she. ' Here is 
your letter.' 

Mark read it. It certainly was his handwriting, but 
by no means his wishes. 

' Well,' thought he, 'you've escaped me three times, 
but I think I shall get the better of you now.' And 
he waited a month and was very kind and pleasant 
to his daughter and her husband. 

At the end of that time he said to Vassili one day, ' I 
want you to go for me to my friend the Serpent King, in 
his beautiful country at the world's end. Twelve years 
ago he built a castle on some land of mine. 1 want 
you to ask for the rent for those twelve years and 
also to find out from him what has become of my 
twelve ships which sailed for his country three years 
ago.' 

Vassili dared not disobey. He said good-bye to his 
young wife, who cried bitterly at parting, hung a bag 
of biscuits over his shoulders, and set out. 

I really cannot tell you whether the journey was long 
or short. As he tramped along he suddenly heard a 
voice saying: 'Vassili! where are you going?' 

Vassili looked about him, and, seeing no one, called 
out: 'Who spoke to me?' 

' I did ; this old wide-spreading oak. Tell me where 
you are going.' 

' I am going to the Serpent King to receive twelve 
years' rent from him.' 

' When the time comes, remember me and ask the 
king: "Rotten to the roots, half dead but still green, 



30 THE THREE WONDERFUL BEGGARS 

stands the old oak. Is it to stand much longer on the 
earth?"' 

Vassili went on further. He came to a river and got 
into the ferryboat. The old ferryman asked : ' Are you 
going far, my friend?' 

' I am going to the Serpent King.' 

' Then think of me and say to the king: " For thirty 
years the ferryman has rowed to and fro. Will the tired 
old man have to row much longer? " ' 

' Very well/ said Yassili ; ' I '11 ask him/ 

And he walked on. In time he came to a narrow 
strait of the sea and across it lay a great whale over 
whose back people walked and drove as if it had been a 
bridge or a road. As he stepped on it the whale said, 
4 Do tell me where you are going.' 

' I am going to the Serpent King.' 

And the whale begged : 4 Think of me and say to the 
king : ' ' The poor whale has been lying three years across 
the strait, and men and horses have nearly trampled his 
back into his ribs. Is he to lie there much longer? " ' 

4 1 will remember,' said Vassili, and he went on. 

He walked, and walked, and walked, till he came to 
a great green meadow. In the meadow stood a large and 
splendid castle. Its white marble walls sparkled in the 
light, the roof was covered with mother o' pearl, which 
shone like a rainbow, and the sun glowed like fire on the 
crystal windows. Vassili walked in, and went from one 
room to another astonished at all the splendour he saw. 

When he reached the last room of all, he found a 
beautiful girl sitting on a bed. 

As soon as she saw him she said : * Oh, Vassili, what 
brings you to this accursed place ? ' 

Vassili told her why he had come, and all he had 
seen and heard on the way. 

The girl said : ' You have not been sent here to collect 
rents, but for your own destruction, and that the serpent 
may devour flu^ by Mjcmsoft Q 



Digitized by Microsoft ® 



THE THREE WONDERFUL BEGGARS 3S 

She had not time to say more, when the whole castle 
shook, and a rustling, hissing, groaning sound was 
heard. The girl quickly pushed Vassili into a chest 
under the bed, locked it and whispered : i Listen to what 
the serpent and I talk about.' 

Then she rose up to receive the Serpent King. 

The monster rushed into the room, and threw itseif 
panting on the bed, crying: ' I've flown half over the 
world. I'm tired, very tired, and want to sleep — scratch 
my head/ 

The beautiful girl sat down near him, stroking his 
hideous head, and said in a sweet coaxing voice : 4 You 
know everything in the world. After you left, I had 
such a wonderful dream. Will you tell me what it 
means?* 

4 Out with it then, quick ! What was it? J 

4 1 dreamt I was walking on a wide road, and an oak 
tree said to me : " Ask the king this : Rotten at the roots, 
half dead, and yet green stands the old oak. Is it to 
stand much longer on the earth ? j; ' 

4 It must stand till some one comes and pushes it down 
with his foot. Then it will fall, and under its roots will 
be found more gold and silver than even Mark the Rich 
has got.' 

4 Then I dreamt I came to a river, and the old ferry- 
man said to me: " For thirty years the ferryman has 
rowed to and fro. Will the tired old man have to row 
much longer? " ' 

4 That depends on himself. If some one gets into the 
boat to be ferried across, the old man has only to push 
the boat off, and go his way without looking back. The 
man in the boat will then have to take his place.' 

4 And at last I dreamt that I was walking over a 
bridge made of a whale's back, and the living bridge spoke 
to me and said : " Here have I been stretched out these 
three years, and men and horses have trampled my back 
down into my ribs. Must I lie here much longer? " ' 

3 



34 THE THREE WONDERFUL BEGGARS 

4 He will have to lie there till he has thrown up the 
twelve ships of Mark the Rich which he swallowed. 
Then he may plunge back into the sea and heal his back.' 
And the Serpent King closed his eyes, turned round 
on his other side, and began to snore so loud that the 
windows rattled. 

In all haste the lovely girl helped Vassili out of the 
chest, and showed him part of his way back. He thanked 
her very politely, and hurried off. 

When he reached the strait the whale asked: 'Have 
you thought of me?' 

' Yes, as soon as I am on the other side I will tell you 
what you want to know/ 

When he was on the other side Vassili said to the 
whale : ' Throw up those twelve ships of Mark's which 
you swallowed three years ago.' 

The great fish heaved itself up and threw up all the 
twelve ships and their crews. Then he shook himself for 
joy and plunged into the sea. 

Vassili went on further till he reached the ferry, 
where the old man asked : ' Did you think of me? ' 

' Yes, and as soon as yon have ferried me across I 
will tell 3 7 ou what you want to know.' 

"When they had crossed over, Vassili said : < Let the 
next man who comes stay in the boat, but do you step on 
shore, push the boat off, and you will be free, and the 
other man must take your place.' 

Then Vassili went on further still, and soon came to 
the old oak tree, pushed it with his foot, and it fell over. 
There, at the roots, was more gold and silver than even 
Mark the Rich had. 

And now the twelve ships which the whale had 
thrown up came sailing along and anchored close by. On 
the deck of the first ship stood the three beggars whom 
Vassili had met formerly, and they said : ' Heaven has 
blessed you, Vassili.' Then they vanished away and he 
never saw them again. 



THE THREE WONDERFUL BEGGARS 85 

The sailors carried all the gold and silver into the 
ship, and then they set sail for home with Vassili on 
board. 

Mark was more furious than ever. He had his 
horses harnessed and drove off himself to see the Serpent 
King and to complain of the way in which he had been 
betrayed. When he reached the river he sprang into the 
ferryboat. The ferryman, however, did not get in but 
pushed the boat off. . . . 

Vassili led a good and happy life with his dear wife, 
and his kind mother-in-law lived with them. He helped 
the poor and fed and clothed the hungry and naked and 
all Mark's riches became his. 

For many years Mark has been ferrying people across 
the river. His face is wrinkled, his hair and beard are 
snow white, and his eyes are dim ; but still he rows on. 

[From the Serbian.] 



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36 



SCH1PPEITAR0 

It was the custom in old times that as soon as a Japanese 
boy reached manhood he should leave his home and 
roam through the land in search of adventures. Some- 
times he would meet with a young man bent on the same 
business as himself, and then they would fight in a 
friendly manner, merely to prove which was the stronger, 
but on other occasions the enemy would turn out to be a 
robber, who had become the terror of the neighbourhood, 
and then the battle was in deadly earnest. 

One day a youth started off from his native village, 
resolved never to come back till he had done some great 
deed that would make his name famous. But adventures 
did not seem very plentiful just then, and he wandered 
about for a long time without meeting either with fierce 
giants or distressed damsels. At last he saw in the 
distance a wild mountain, half covered w r ith a dense forest, 
and thinking that this promised well at once took the 
road that led to it. The difficulties he met with — huge 
rocks to be climbed, deep rivers to be crossed, and 
thorny tracts to be avoided — only served to make his 
heart beat quicker, for he was really brave all through, 
and not merely when he could not help himself, like a 
great many people. But in spite of all his efforts he 
could not find his way out of the forest, and he began to 
think he should have to pass the night there. Once 
more he strained his eyes to see if there was no place in 
which he could take shelter, and this time he caught sight 
of a small chapel in a little clearing. He hastened 



SGHIPPEITARO 37 

quickly towards it, and curling himself up in a warm 
corner soon fell asleep. 

Not a sound was heard through the whole forest for 
some hours, but at midnight there suddenly arose such a 




DEFEAT OF THE NOUNTAIN-SPIFLVT 

BY THE YOUTH AND SCR-IPPtlTAKO 



clamour that the young man, tired as he was, started 
broad awake in an instant. Peeping cautiously between 
the wooden pillars of the chapel, he saw a troop of 
hideous cats, dancing furiously, makiug the night horrible 



38 SGHIPPEITARO 

with their yells. The full moon lighted up the weird 
scene, and the young warrior gazed with astonishment, 
taking great care to keep still, lest he should be discovered. 
After some time he thought that in the midst of all their 
shrieks he could make out the words, ' Do not tell 
Sehippeitaro ! Keep it hidden and secret! Do not tell 
Schippeitaro ! ' Then, the midnight hour having passed, 
they all vanished, and the youth was left alone. Ex- 
hausted by all that had been going on round him, he 
Hung himself on the ground and slept till the sun 
rose. 

The moment he woke he felt very hungry, and began 
to think how he could get something to eat. So he got 
up and walked on, and before he had gone very far was 
lucky enough to find a little side-path, where he could 
trace men's footsteps. He followed the track, and by- 
and-by came on some scattered huts, beyond which lay 
a village. Delighted at this discovery, he was about to 
hasten to the village when he heard a woman's voice 
weeping and lamenting, and calling on the men to take 
pity on her and help her. The sound of her distress 
made him forget he was hungry, and he strode into the 
hut to find out for himself what was wrong. But the 
men whom he asked only shook their heads and told him 
it was not a matter in which he could give any help, for 
all this sorrow was caused by the Spirit of the Mountain, 
to whom every year they were bound to furnish a maiden 
for him to eat. 

6 To-morrow night,' said they, fc the horrible creature 
will come for his dinner, and the cries you have heard 
were uttered by the girl before } T ou, upon whom the lot 
has fallen.' 

And when the young man asked if the girl was 
carried off straight from her home, they answered no, but 
that a large cask was set in the forest chapel, and into 
this she was fastened. 

As he listened to this story, the young man was 



SCHIPPEITARO 39 

filled with a great longing to rescue the maiden from 
her dreadful fate. The mention of the chapel set 
him thinking of the scene of the previous night, and he 
went over all the details again in his mind. ; Who is 
Schippeitaro ? ' he suddenly asked ; ' ( an any of you tell 
me?' 

1 Schippeitaro is the great dog that belongs to the 
overseer of our prince,' said they; ; and he lives not far 
away.' And they began to laugh at the question, which 
seemed to them so odd and useless. 

The young man did not laugh with them, but instead 
left the hut and went straight to the owner of the dog, 
whom he begged to lend him the animal just for one night. 
Schippeitaro's master was not at all willing to give 
him in charge to a man of whom he knew nothing, but in 
the end he consented, and the youth led the dog away, 
promising faithfully to return him next day to his master. 
He next hurried to the hut where the maiden li\ r ed, and 
entreated her parents to shut her up safely in a closet, 
after which he took Schippeitaro to the cask, and fastened 
him into it. In the evening he knew that the cask would 
be- placed in the chapel, so he hid himself there and 
waited. 

At midnight, when the full moon appeared above the 
top of the mountain, the cats again filled the chapel and 
shrieked and yelled and danced as before. But this time 
they had in their midst a huge black cat who seemed to 
be their king, and whom the young man guessed to be the 
Spirit of the Mountain. The monster looked eagerly 
about him, and his eyes sparkled with joy when he saw 
the cask. He bounded high into the air with delight and 
uttered cries of pleasure ; then he drew near and undid 
the bolts. But instead of fastening his teeth in the neck 
of a beautiful maiden, Schippeitaro's teeth were fastened 
in him, and the youth ran up and cut off his head with 
his sword. The other cats were so astonished at the turn 
things had taken that they forgot to run away, and the 



40 SCHIPPEITARO 

young man and Schippeitaro between them killed several 
more before they thought of escaping. 

At sunrise the brave dog was taken back to his master, 
and from that time the mountain girls were safe, and every 
year a feast was held in memory of the young warrior and 
the dog Schippeitaro. 

[Japanische Marc hen. 1 



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41 



THE THREE PRINCES AND THEIR BEASTS 

(LITHUANIAN FAIRY TALE) 

Once on a time there were three princes, who had a 
step-sister. One day they all set out hunting together. 
When they had gone some way through a thick wood 
they came on a great grey wolf with three cubs. Just as 
they were going to shoot, the wolf spoke and said, ' Do 
not shoot me, and I will give each of you one of my 
young ones. It will be a faithful friend to you.' 

So the princes went on their way, and a little wolf 
followed each of them. 

Soon after they came on a lioness with three cubs. 
And she too begged them not to shoot her, and she would 
give each of them a cub. And so it happened with a fox, 
a hare, a boar, and a bear, till each prince had quite a 
following of young beasts paddling along behind him. 

Towards evening they came to a clearing in the wood, 
where three birches grew at the crossing of three roads. 
The eldest prince took an arrow, and shot it into the 
trunk of one of the birch trees. Turning to his brothers 
he said : 

4 Let each of us mark one of these trees before we 
part on different ways. When any one of us conies back 
to this place, he must walk round the trees of the other 
two, and if he sees blood flowing from the mark in the 
tree he will know that that brother is dead, but if milk 
flows he will know that his brother is alive.' 

So each of the princes did as the eldest brother had 
said, and when the three birehes were marked by their 



42 THREE PRINCES AND THEIR BEASTS 

arrows they turned to their step-sister and asked her 
with which of them she meant to live. 

c With the eldest,' she answered. Then the brothers 
separated from each other, and each of them set out down 
a different road, followed by their beasts. And the step- 
sister went with the eldest prince. 

After they had gone a little way along the road they 
came into a forest, and in one of the deepest glades they 
suddenly found themselves opposite a castle in which 
there lived a band of robbers. The prince walked up to 
the door and knocked. The moment it was opened the 
beasts rushed in, and each seized on a robber, killed him, 
and dragged the body down to the cellar. Now, one of 
the robbers was not really killed, only badly wounded, 
but he lay quite still and pretended to be dead like the 
others. Then the prince and his step-sister entered the 
castle and took up their abode in it. 

The next morning the prince went out hunting. Before 
leaving he told his step-sister that she might go into every 
room in the house except into the cave where the dead 
robbers lay. But as soon as his back was turned she forgot 
what he had said, and having wandered through all the 
other rooms she went down to the cellar and opened the 
door. As soon as she looked in the robber who had 
only pretended to be dead sat up and said to her : 

' Don't be afraid. Do what I tell you, and I will be 
your friend. If you marry me you will be much happier 
with me than with your brother. But you must first go 
into the sitting-room and look in the cupboard. There 
you will find three bottles. In one of them there is a 
healing ointment which you must put on my chin to heal 
the wound; then if I drink the contents of the second 
bottle it will make me well, and the third bottle will 
make me stronger than I ever was before. Then, when 
your brother comes back from the wood with his beasts 
you must go to him and say, u Brother, you are very strong. 
If I were to fasten your thumbs behind your back with a 



THREE PRINCES AND THEIR BEASTS 43 

stout silk cord, could you wrench yourself free?" And 
when you see that he cannot do it, call me/ 

When the brother came home, the step-sister did as 
the robber had told her, and fastened her brother's thumbs 
behind his back. But with one wrench he set himself 




free, and said to her, ' Sister, that cord is not strong 
enough for me.' 

The next day he went back to the wood with his 
beasts, and the robber told her that she must take a much 
stouter cord to bind his thumbs with. But again he freed 
himself, though not so easily as the first time, and he 
said to his sister: 



44 THREE PRINCES AND THEIR BEASTS 

i Even that cord is not strong enough.' 

The third day, on his return from the wood he consented 
to have his strength tested for the last time. So she took 
a very strong cord of silk, which she had prepared by the 
robber's advice, and this time, though the prince pulled 
and tugged with all his might, he could not break the 
cord. So he called to her and said : ' Sister, this time the 
cord is so strong I cannot break it. Come and unfasten 
it for me.' 

But instead of coming she called to the robber, who 
rushed into the room brandishing a knife, with which he 
prepared to attack the prince. 

But the prince spoke and said : 

4 Have patience for one minute. I would like before 
I die to blow three blasts on my hunting horn — one in 
this room, one on the stairs, and one in the courtyard.' 

So the robber consented, and the prince blew the horn. 
At the first blast, the fox, which was asleep in the eage in 
the courtyard, awoke, and knew that his master needed 
help. So he awoke the wolf by flicking him across the 
eyes with his brush. Then they awoke the lion, who 
sprang against the door of the cage with might and 
main, so that it fell in splinters /on the ground, and the 
beasts were free. Rushing through the court to their 
master's aid, the fox gnawed the cord in two that bound 
the prince's thumbs behind his back, and the lion flung 
himself on the robber, and when he had killed him and 
torn him in pieces each of the beasts carried off a bone. 

Then the prince turned to the step-sister and said : 

' I will not kill you, but I will leave you here to repent.' 
And he fastened her with a chain to the wall, and put a 
great bowl in front of her and said, ' I will not see you 
again till you have filled this bowl with your tears.' 

So saying, he called his beasts, and set out on his 
travels. When he had gone a little way he came to an 
inn. Everyone in the inn seemed so sad that he asked 
them what was the matter. 



THREE PRINCES AND THEIR BEASTS 45 

* Ah,' replied they, ' to-day our king's daughter is to 
die. She is to be handed over to a dreadful nine-headed 
dragon.' 

Then the prince said: l Why should she die? I am 
very strong, I will save her/ 

And he set out to the sea-shore, where the dragon was 
to meet the princess. And as he waited with his beasts 
round him a great procession came along, accompanying 
the unfortunate princess : and when the shore was reached 
all the people left her, and returned sadly to their houses. 
But the prince remained, and soon he saw a movement 
in the water a long way off. As it came nearer, he knew 
what it was, for skimming swiftly along the waters came 
a monster dragon with nine heads. Then the prince took 
counsel with his beasts, and as the dragon approached the 
shore the fox drew his brush through the water and 
blinded the dragon by scattering the salt water in his 
eyes, while the bear and the lion threw it]? more water 
with their paws, so that the monster was bewildered and 
could see nothing. Then the prince rushed forward with 
his sword and killed the dragon, and the beasts tore the 
body in pieces. 

Then the princess turned to the prince and thanked 
him for delivering her from the dragon, and she said to 
him : 

fc Step into this carriage with me, and we will drive 
back to my father's palace.' And she gave him a ring 
and half of her handkerchief. But on the way back the 
coachman and footman spoke to one another and said: 

4 Why should we drive this stranger back to the 
palace? Let us kill him, and then we can say to the king 
that we slew the dragon and saved the princess, and one 
of us shall marry her.' 

So they killed the prince, and left him dead on the 
roadside. And the faithful beasts came round the dead 
body and wept, and wondered what they should do. 
Then suddenly the wolf had an idea, and he started off 



46 THREE PRINCES AND THEIR BEASTS 

into the wood, where he found an ox, which he straight- 
way killed. Then he called the fox, and told him to 
mount guard over the dead ox, and if a bird came past 
and tried to peck at the flesh he was to catch it and bring 
it to the lion. Soon after a crow flew past, and began to 
peck at the dead ox. In a moment the fox had caught it 
and brought it to the lion Then the lion said to the 
crow : 

4 We will not kill you if you will promise to fly to the 
town where there are three wells of healing and to bring 
back water from them in your beak to make this dead 
man alive.' 

So the crow flew away, and she filled her beak at the 
well of healing, the well of strength, and the well of 
swiftness, and she flew back to the dead prince and 
dropped the water from her beak upon his lips, and he 
was healed, and could sit up and walk. 

Then he set out for the town, accompanied by his 
faithful beasts. And w T hen they reached the king's palaee 
they found that preparations for a great feast were being 
made, for the princess was to marry the coachman. 

So the prince walked into the palace, and went straight 
up to the coachman and said : 4 What token have you got 
that you killed the dragon and won the hand of the 
princess? I have her token here — this ring and half her 
handkerchief.' 

And when the king saw these tokens he knew that the 
prince was speaking the truth. So the coachman was 
bound in chains and thrown into prison, and the prince 
was married to the princess and rewarded with half the 
kingdom. 

One day, soon after his marriage, the prince was 
walking through the woods in the evening, followed by 
his faithful beasts. Darkness came on, and he lost his 
way, and wandered about among the trees looking for the 
path that would lead him back to the palace. As he 
walked he saw the light of a fire, and making his way to 



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THREE PRINCES AND THEIR BEASTS 49 

it he found an old woman raking sticks and dried leaves 
together, and burning them in a glade of the wood. 

As he was very tired, and the night was very dark, the 
prince determined not to wander further. So he asked 
the old woman if he might spend the night beside her 
fire. 

' Of course you may,' she answered. 6 But I am 
afraid of your beasts. Let me hit them with my rod, and 
then I shall not be afraid of them.' 

4 Very well,' said the prince, 4 I don't mind ' ; and she 
stretched out her rod and hit the beasts, and in one 
moment they were turned into stone, and so was the 
prince. 

Now soon after this the prince's youngest brother 
came to the cross-roads with the three birches, where the 
brothers had parted from each other when they set out 
on their wanderings. Eemembering what they had agreed 
to do, he walked round the two trees, and when he saw 
that blood oozed from the cut in the eldest prince's tree 
he knew that his brother must be dead. So he set out, 
followed by his beasts, and came to the town over which 
his brother had ruled, and where the princess he had 
married lived. And when he came into the town all the 
people were in great sorrow because their prince had dis- 
appeared. 

But when they saw his youngest brother, and the 
beasts following him, they thought it was their own 
prince, and they rejoiced greatly, and told him how they 
had sought him everywhere. Then they led him to the 
king, and he too thought that it was his son-in-law. But 
the princess knew that he was not her husband, and she 
begged him to go out into the woods with his beasts, and 
to look for his brother till he found him. 

So the youngest prince set out to look for his brother, 
and he too lost his way in the wood and night overtook 
him. Then he came to the clearing among the trees, 
where the fire was burning and where the old woman 

4 



50 THREE PRINCES AND THEIR BEASTS 

was raking sticks and leaves into the flames. And he asked 
her if he might spend the night beside her fire, as it was 
too late and too dark to go back to the town. 

And she answered : ' Certainly you may. But I am 
afraid of your beasts. May I give them a stroke with my 
rod, then I shall not be afraid of them.' 

And he said she might, for he did not know that she 
was a witch. So she stretched out her rod, and in a 
moment the beasts and their master were turned into 
stone. 

It happened soon after that the second brother re- 
turned from his wanderings and came to the cross-roads 
where the three birches grew. As he went round the 
trees he saw that blood poured from the cuts in the bark 
of two of the trees. Then he wept and said : 

'Alas! both my brothers are dead.' And he too set 
out towards the town in which his brother had ruled, and 
his faithful beasts followed him. When he entered the 
town, all the people thought it was their own prince come 
back to them, and they gathered round him, as they had 
gathered round his youngest brother, and asked him 
where he had been and why he had not returned. And 
they led him to the king's palace, but the princess knew 
that he was not her husband. So when they were alone 
together she besought him to go and seek for his brother 
and bring him home. Calling his beasts round him, he 
set out and wandered through the woods. And he put 
his ear down to the earth, to listen if he could hear the 
sound of his brother's beasts. And it seemed to him as 
if he heard a faint sound far off, but he did not know from 
what direction it came. So he blew on his hunting horn 
and listened again. And again he heard the sound, and 
this time it seemed to come from the direction of a fire 
burning in the wood. So he went towards the fire, and 
there the old woman was raking sticks and leaves into the 
embers. And he asked her if he might spend the night 
beside her fire. But she told him she was afraid of his 



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THREE PRINCES AND THEIR BEASTS 51 

beasts, and he must first allow her to give each of them a 
stroke with her rod. 

But he answered her : 

c Certainly not. 1 am their master, and no one shall 
strike them but I myself. Give me the rod ' ; and he 
touched the fox with it, and in a moment it was turned 
into stone. Then he knew that the old woman was a 
witch, and he turned to her and said : 

4 Unless you restore my brothers and their beasts back 
to life at once, my lion will tear you in pieces/ 

Then the witch was terrified, and taking a young oak- 
tree she burnt it into white ashes, and sprinkled the ashes 
on the stones that stood around. And in a moment the 
two princes stood before their brother, and their beasts 
stood round them. 

Then the three princes set off together to the town. 
And the king did not know which was his son-in-law, 
but the princess knew which was her husband, and there 
were great rejoicings throughout the land. 



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52 



THE GOAT'S EARS OF THE EMPEROR 
TROJAN 



Once upon a time there lived an emperor whose name 
was Trojan, and he had ears like a goat. Every morn- 
ing, when he was shaved, he asked if the man saw any- 
thing odd about him, and as each fresh barber always 
replied that the emperor had goat's ears, he was at once 
ordered to be put to death. 

Now after this state of things had lasted a good while, 
there was hardly a barber left in the town that could 
shave the emperor, and it came to be the turn of the 
Master of the Company of Barbers to go up to the palace. 
But, unluckily, at the very moment that he should have 
set out, the master fell suddenly ill, and told one of his 
apprentices that he must go in his stead. 

When the youth was taken to the emperor's bedroom, 
he was asked why he had come and not his master. The 
young man replied that the master was ill, and there was 
no one but himself who could be trusted with the honour. 
The emperor was satisfied with the answer, and sat down, 
and let a sheet of fine linen be put round him. Directly 
the young barber began his work, he, like the rest, re- 
marked the goat's ears of the emperor, but when he had 
finished and the emperor asked his usual question as to 
whether the youth had noticed anything odd about him, 
the young man replied calmly, ' No, nothing at all.' This 
pleased the emperor so much that he gave him twelve 
duuats, and said, ' Henceforth you shall come every day 
to shave me.' .. ... ... 

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GOAT'S EARS OF THE EMPEROR TROJAN 53 

So when the apprentice returned home, and the master 
inquired how he had got on with the emperor, the young 
man answered, ' Oh, very well, and he says I am to shave 
him every day, and he has given me these twelve ducats ' ; 
but he said nothing about the goat's ears of the emperor. 

From this time the apprentice went regularly up to 
the palace, receiving each morning twelve ducats in pay- 
ment. But after a while, his secret, which he had care- 
fully kept, burnt within him, and he longed to tell it to 
somebody. His master saw there was something on his 
mind, and asked what it was. The youth replied 
that he had been tormenting himself for some months, and 
should never feel easy until some one shared his secret. 

4 Well, trust me,' said the master, ' I will keep it to 
myself ; or, if you do not like to do that, confess it to 
your pastor, or go into some field outside the town and 
dig a hole, and, after you have dug it, kneel down and 
whisper your secret three times into the hole. Then put 
back the earth and come away.' 

The apprentice thought that this seemed the best plan, 
and that very afternoon went to a meadow outside the 
town, dug a deep hole, then knelt and whispered to it 
three times over, ' The Emperor Trojan has goat's ears.' 
And as he said so a great burden seemed to roll off him, 
and he shovelled the earth carefully back and ran lightly 
home. 

Weeks passed away, and there sprang up in the hole 
an elder tree which had three stems, all as straight as 
poplars. Some shepherds, tending their flocks near by, 
noticed the tree growing there, and one of them cut down 
a stem to make flutes of ; but, directly he began to play, 
the flute would do nothing but sing : ' The Emperor 
Trojan has goat's ears.' Of course, it was not long 
before the whole town knew of this wonderful flute and 
what it said ; and, at last, the news reached the emperor 
in his palace. He instantly sent for the apprentice and 
said to him : 



54 GOAT'S EARS OF THE EMPEROR TROJAN 

'What have you been saying about me to all my 
people ? ' 

The culprit tried to defeud himself by saying that he 
had never told anyone what he had noticed; but the 
emperor, instead of listening, only drew his sword from 
its sheath, which so frightened the poor fellow that he 
confessed exactly what he had done, and how he had 
whispered the truth three times to the earth, aud how in 
that very place an elder tree had sprung up, and flutes 
had been cut from it, which would only repeat the words 
he had said. Then the emperor commanded his coach to be 
made ready, and he took the youth with him, and they 
drove to the spot, for he wished to see for himself 
whether the young man's confession was true ; but when 
they reached the place only one stem was left. So the 
emperor desired his attendants to cut him a flute from 
the remaining stem, and, when it was ready, he ordered 
his chamberlain to play on it. But no tune could the 
chamberlain play, though he was the best flute player 
about the court— nothing came but the words, c The Em- 
peror Trojan has goat's ears.' Then the emperor knew 
that even the earth gave up its secrets, and he granted the 
young man his life, but he never allowed him to be his 
barber any more. 

[Volksinarchen der Serben.] 



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55 



THE NINE PEA-HENS AND THE 
GOLDEN APPLES 

Once upon a time there stood before the palace of an 
emperor a golden apple tree, which blossomed and bore 
fruit each night. But every morning the fruit was gone, 
and the boughs were bare of blossom, without anyone 
being able to discover who was the thief. 

At last the emperor said to his eldest son, 'If only I 
could prevent those robbers from stealing my fruit, how 
happy I should be ! ' 

And his son replied, ' I will sit up to-night and watch 
the tree, and I shall soon see who it is ! ' 

So directly it grew dark the young man went and hid 
himself near the apple tree to begin his watch, but the 
apples had scarcely begun to ripen before he fell asleep, 
and when he awoke at sunrise the apples were gone. 
He felt very much ashamed of himself, and went with 
lagging feet to tell his father! 

Of course, though the eldest son had failed, the second 
made sure that he would do better, and set out gaily at 
nightfall to watch the apple tree. But no sooner had he 
lain himself down than his eyes grew heavy, and when 
the sunbeams roused him from his slumbers there was 
not an apple left on the tree. 

Next came the turn of the youngest son, who made 
himself a comfortable bed under the apple tree, and pre- 
pared himself to sleep. Towards midnight he awoke, and 
sat up to look at the tree. And behold ! the apples were 
beginning to ripen, and lit up the whole palace with their 



56 NINE PEA-HENS AND GOLDEN APPLES 

brightness. At the same moment nine golden pea-hens 
flew swiftly through the air, and while eight alighted upon 
the boughs laden with fruit, the ninth fluttered to the 
ground where the prince lay, and instantly was changed 
into a beautiful maiden, more beautiful far than any 
lady in the emperor's court. The prince at once fell in 
love with her, and they talked together for some time, 
till the maiden said her sisters had finished plucking the 
apples, and now they must all go home again. The prince, 
however, begged her so hard to leave him a little of the 
fruit that the maiden gave him two apples, one for himself 
and one for his father. Then she changed herself back 
into a pea-hen, and the whole nine flew away. 

As soon as the sun rose the prince entered the palace, 
and held out the apple to his father, who was rejoiced to 
see it, and praised his youngest son heartily for his 
cleverness. That evening the prince returned to the apple 
tree, and everything passed as before, and so it happened 
for several nights. At length the other brothers grew angry 
at seeing that he never came back without bringing two 
golden apples with him, and they went to consult an old 
witch, who promised to spy after him, and discover how 
he managed to get the apples. So, when the evening 
came, the old woman hid herself under the tree and 
waited for the prince. Before long he arrived and laid 
down on his bed, and was soon fast asleep. Towards 
midnight there was a rush of wings, and the eight 
pea-hens settled on the tree, while the ninth became a 
maiden, and ran to greet the prince. Then the witch 
stretched out her hand, and cut off a lock of the maiden's 
hair, and in an instant the girl sprang up, a pea-hen 
once more, spread her wings and flew away, while her 
sisters, who were busily stripping the boughs, flew after 
her. 

When he had recovered from his surprise at the unex- 
pected disappearance of the maiden, the prince exclaimed, 
4 What can be the matter ?,' and, looking about him. 




,HT)paK.XDQ@oLDen .5P PLe-^R.ea 

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Digitized by Microsoft ® 



NINE PEA-HENS AND GOLDEN APPLES 59 

discovered the old witch hidden under the bed. He 
dragged her out, and in his fury called his guards, and 
ordered them to put her to death as fast as possible. 
But that did no good as far as the pea-hens went. They 
never came back any more, though the prince returned to 
the tree every night, and wept his heart out for his lost 
love. This went on for some time, till the prince could 
bear it no longer, and made up his mind he would search 
the world through for her. In vain his father tried to 
persuade him that his task was hopeless, and that other 
girls were to be found as beautiful as this one. The 
prince would listen to nothing, and, accompanied by 
only one servant, set out on his quest. 

After travelling for many days, he arrived at length 
before a large gate, and through the bars he could see the 
streets of a town, and even the palace. The prince tried 
to pass in, but the way was barred by the keeper of 
the gate, who wanted to know who he was, why he was 
there, and how he had learnt the way, and he was not 
allowed to enter unless the empress herself came and 
gave him leave. A message was sent to her, and when 
she stood at the gate the prince thought he had lost his 
wits, for there was the maiden he had left his home to 
seek. And she hastened to him, and took his hand, and 
drew him into the palace. In a few days they were 
married, and the prince forgot his father and his brothers, 
and made up his mind that he would live and die in the 
castle. 

One morning the empress told him that she was 
going to take a walk by herself, and that she would leave 
the keys of twelve cellars to his care. ' If you wish to 
enter the first eleven cellars,' said she, ' you can ; but 
beware of even unlocking the door of the twelfth, or it 
will be the worse for you.' 

The prince, who was left alone in the castle, soon got 
tired of being by himself, and began to look about for 
something to amuse him. 



60 NINE PEA-HENS AND GOLDEN APPLES 

' What can there be in that twelfth cellar/ he thought 
to himself, ' which I must not see? > And he went down- 
stairs and unlocked the doors, one after the other. 
When he got to the twelfth he paused, but his curiosity 
was too much for him, and in another instant the key 
was turned and the cellar lay open before him. It was 
empty, save for a large cask, bound with iron hoops, and 
out of the cask a voice was saying entreatingly, l For 
goodness' sake, brother, fetch me some water ; I am 
dying of thirst ! ' 

The prince, who was very tender-hearted, brought 
some water at once, and pushed it through a hole in the 
barrel ; aud as he did so one of the iron hoops burst. 

He was turning away, when a voice cried the secoud 
time, 'Brother, for pity's sake fetch me some water; I'm 
dying of thirst ! ' 

So the prince went back, and brought some more 
water, and again a hoop sprang. 

And for the third time the voice still called for water ; 
and when water was given it the last hoop was rent, the 
cask fell in pieces, and out flew a dragon, who snatched 
up the empress just as she was returning from her walk, 
and carried her off. Some servants who saw what had 
happened came rushing to the prince, and the poor * 
young man went nearly mad when he heard the result 
of his own folly, and could only cry out that he would 
follow the dragon to the ends of the earth, until he got 
his wife again. 

For months and months he wandered about, first in 
this direction and then in that, without finding any traces 
of the dragon or his captive. At last he came to a stream, 
and as he stopped for a moment to look at it he noticed 
a little fish lying on the bank, beating its tail convulsively, 
in a vain effort to get back into the water. 

'Oh, for pity's sake, my brother,' shrieked the little 
creature, ' help me, and put me back into the river, and I 
will repay you some day. Take one of my scales, and 



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NINE PEA-HENS AND GOLDEN APPLES G3 

when you are in danger twist it in your fingers, and I 
will come ! ' 

The prince picked up the fish and threw it into the 
water ; then he took off one of its scales, as he had been 
told, and put it in his pocket, carefully wrapped in a 
cloth. Then he went on his way till, some miles further 
down the road, he found a fox caught in a trap. 

' Oh 1 be a brother to me ! ' called the fox, l and free 
me from this trap, and I will help you when you are in 
need. Pull out one of my hairs, and when you are in 
danger twist it in your fingers, and I will come.' 

So the prince unfastened the trap, pulled out one of 
the fox's hairs, and continued his journey. And as he 
was going over the mountain he passed a wolf en- 
tangled in a snare, who begged to be set at liberty. 

'Only deliver me from death,' he said, 'and you will 
never be sorry for it. Take a lock of my fur, and when 
you need me twist it in your fingers. 7 And the prince 
undid the snare and let the wolf go. 

For a long time he walked on, without having any 
more adventures, till at length he met a man travelling 
on the same road. 

' Oh, brother ! ' asked the prince, ' tell me, if you can, 
where the dragon-emperor lives ? ' 

The man told him where he would find the palace, 
and how long it would take him to get there, and the 
prince thanked him. and followed his directions, till that 
same evening he reached the town where the dragon- 
emperor lived. When he entered the palace, to his great 
joy he found his wife sitting alone in a vast hall, and 
they began hastily to invent plans for her escape. There 
was no time to waste, as the dragon might return directly, 
so they took two horses out of the stable, and rode away 
at lightning speed. Hardly were they out of sight of the 
palace than the dragon came home and found that his 
He sent at once for his talking 



prisoner had flown. He sen 
horse, and said to him: 



Microsoft® 



04 NINE PEA-HENS AND GOLDEN APPLES 

'Give me your advice; what shall I do — have my 
supper as usual, or set out in pursuit of them?' 

4 Eat your supper with a free mind first/ answered 
the horse, 'and follow them afterwards.' 

So the dragon ate till it was past mid-day, and when 
he could eat no more he mounted his horse and set out 
after the fugitives. In a short time he had come up with 
them, and as he snatched the empress out of her saddle 
he said to the prince : 

4 This time I will forgive you, because you brought me 
the water when I was in the cask ; but beware how you 
return here, or you will pay for it with your life.' 

Half mad with grief, the prince rode sadly on a little 
further, hardly knowing what he was doing. Then he 
could bear it no longer and turned back to the palace, in 
spite of the dragon's threats. Again the empress was 
sitting alone, and once more they began to think of a 
scheme by which they could escape the dragon's power. 

4 Ask the dragon when he comes home,' said the 
prince, ' where he got that wonderful horse from, and 
then you can tell me, and I will try to find another like 
it.' 

Then, fearing to meet his enemy, he stole out of the 
castle. 

Soon after the dragon came home, and the empress 
sat down near him, and began to coax and flatter him 
into a good humour, and at last she said : 

' But tell me about that wonderful horse you were 
riding yesterday. There cannot be another like it in the 
whole world. AVhere did you get it from ? ' 

And he answered : 

4 The way I got it is a way which no one else can 
take. On the top of a high mountain dwells an old 
woman, who has in her stables twelve horses, each one 
more beautiful than the other. And in one corner is 
a thin, wretched-looking animal whom no one would 
glance at a second time, but he is in reality the best of 



NINE PEA-HENS AND GOLDEN APPLES 65 

the lot. He is twin brother to my own horse, and can 
tly as high as the clouds themselves. But no one can 
ever get this horse without first serving the old woman 
for three whole days. And besides the horses she has a 
foal and its mother, and the man who serves her must 
look after them for three whole days, and if he does not 
let them run away he will in the end get the choice of 
any horse as a present from the old woman. But if he 
fails to keep the foal and its mother safe on any one of 
the three nights his head will pay. 5 

The next day the prince watched till the dragon left 
the house, and then he crept in to the empress, who told 
him all she had learnt from her gaoler. The prince at 
once determined to seek the old woman on the top of the 
mountain, and lost no time in setting out. It was a long 
and steep climb, but at last he found her, and with a low 
bow he began : 

1 Good greeting to you, little mother ! ' 

4 Good greeting to you, my son ! What are you doing 
here ? ' 

' I wish to become your servant/ answered he. 

4 So you shall,' said the old woman. i If you can take 
care of my mare for three days I will give you a horse 
for wages, but if you let her stray you will lose your 
head ' ; and as she spoke she led him into a courtyard 
surrounded with palings, and on every post a man's head 
was stuck. One post only was empty, and as they passed 
it cried out : 

1 Woman, give me the head I am waiting for ! ' 

The old woman made no answer, but turned to the 
prince and said : 

4 Look ! all those men took service with me, on the 
same conditions as you, but not one was able to guard 
the mare ! ' 

But the prince did not waver, and declared he would 
abide by his words. 

When evening came he led the mare out of the stable 

5 



66 NINE PEA-HENS AND GOLDEN APPLES 

and mounted her, and the colt ran behind. He managed 
to keep his seat for a long time, in spite of all her efforts 
to throw him, but at length he grew so weary that he fell 
fast asleep, and when he woke he found himself sitting 
on a log, with the halter in his hands. He jumped up in 
terror, but the mare was nowhere to be seen, and he 
started with a beating heart in search of her. He had 
gone some way without a single trace to guide him, when 
he came to a little river. The sight of the water brought 
back to his mind the fish whom he had saved from death, 
and he hastily drew the scale from his pocket. It had 
hardly touched his fingers when the fish appeared in the 
stream beside him. 

4 What is it, my brother? ' asked the fish anxiously. 

4 The old woman's mare strayed last night, and I don't 
know where to look for her.' 

4 Oh, I can tell you that : she has changed herself into 
a big fish, and her foal into a little one. But strike the 
water with the halter and say, u Come here, O mare of the 
mountain witch ! " and she will come.' 

The prince did as he was bid, and the mare and her 
foal stood before him. Then he put the halter round her 
neck, and rode her home, the foal always trotting behind 
them. The old woman was at the door to receive them, 
and gave the prince some food while she led the mare 
back to the stable. 

4 You should have gone among the fishes/ cried the 
old woman, striking the animal with a stick. 

4 1 did go among the fishes,' replied the mare; 
4 but they are no friends of mine, for they betrayed me at 
once.' 

4 Well, go among the foxes this time,' said she, and 
returned to the house, not knowing that the prince had 
overheard her. 

So when it began to grow dark the prince mounted 
the mare for the second time and rode into the meadows, 
and the foal trotted behind its mother. Again he 



NINE PEA-HENS AND GOLDEN APPLES 67 

managed to stick on till midnight: then a sleep overtook 
him that he could not battle against, and when he woke 
up he found himself, as before, sitting on the log, with the 
halter in his hands. He gave a shriek of dismay, and 
sprang up in search of the wanderers. As he went he 
suddenly remembered the words that the old woman had 
said to the mare, and he drew out the fox hair and 
twisted it in his fingers. 

' What is it, my brother? ' asked the fox, who instantly 
appeared before him. 

4 The old witch's mare has run away from me, and I 
do not know where to look for her.' 

4 She is with us,' replied the fox, 4 and has changed 
herself into a big fox, and her foal into a little one, but 
strike the ground with a halter and say, " Come here, O 
mare of the mountain witch ! " ' 

The prince did so, and in a moment the fox 
became a mare and stood before him, with the little foal 
at her heels. He mounted and rode back, and the old 
woman placed food on the table, and led the mare back 
to the stable. 

4 You should have gone to the foxes, as I told } T ou,' 
said she, striking the mare with a stick. 

' I did go to the foxes,' replied the mare, ' but they are 
no friends of mine and betrayed me.' 

4 Well, this time you had better go to the wolves,' said 
she, not knowing that the prince had heard all she had 
been saying. 

The third night the prince mounted the mare and 
rode her out to the meadows, with the foal trotting after. 
He tried hard to keep awake, but it was of no use, and in 
the morning there he was again on the log, grasping 
the halter. He started to his feet, and then stopped, for 
he remembered what the old woman had said, and pulled 
out the wolf's grey lock. 

' What is it, my brother?' asked the wolf as it stood 
before him. 



68 NINE PEA-HENS AND GOLDEN APPLES 

' The old witch's mare has ruu away from me/ replied 
the prince, ' and I don't know where to find her.' 

'Oh, she is with us,' answered the wolf, '"and she has 
changed herself into a she-wolf, and the foal into a cub ; 
but strike the earth here with the halter, and cry, " Come 
to me, O mare of the mountain witch.'" 

The prince did as he was bid, and as the hair touched 
his fingers the wolf changed back into a mare, with the 
foal beside her. And when he had mounted and ridden 
her home the old woman was on the steps to receive 
them, and she set some food before the prince, but led 
the mare back to her stable. 

' You should have gone among the wolves,' said she, 
striking her with a stick. 

' So I did,' replied the mare. ' but they are no friends 
of mine and betrayed me.' 

The old woman made no answer, and left the stable, 
but the prince was at the door waiting for her. 

fc I have served you well,' said he, 'and now for my 
reward.' 

' What I promised that will I perform,' answered she. 
'Choose one of these twelve horses; you can have 
which you like.' 

'Give me, instead, that half-starved creature in the 
corner,' asked the prince. 'I prefer him to all those 
beautiful animals.' 

'You can't really mean what you say?' replied the 
woman. 

' Yes, I do,' said the prince, and the old woman was 
forced to let him have his way. So he took leave of her, 
and put the halter round his horse's neck and led him 
into the forest, where he rubbed him down till his skin 
was shining like gold. Then he mounted, and they flew 
straight through the air to the dragon's palace. The 
empress had been looking for him night and day, and 
stole out to meet him, and he swung her on to his saddle, 
and the horse flew off again. 



NINE PEA-HENS AND GOLDEN APPLES G9 

Not long after the dragon came home, and when he 
found the empress was missing he said to his horse, 
4 What shall we do? Shall we eat and drink, or shall we 
follow the runaways?' and the horse replied, 'Whether 
you eat or don't eat, drink or don't drink, follow them or 
stay at home, matters nothing now, for you can never, 
never catch them.' 

But the dragon made no reply to the horse's words, 
but sprang on his back and set off in chase of the fugitives. 
And when they saw him coming they were frightened, 
and urged the prince's horse faster and faster, till he said, 
' Fear nothing ; no harm can happen to us,' and their 
hearts grew calm, for they trusted his wisdom. 

Soon the dragon's horse was heard panting behind, 
and he cried out, ' Oh, my brother, do not go so fast ! I 
shall sink to the earth if I try to keep up with you.' 

And the prince's horse answered, k Why do you serve 
a monster like that? Kick him off, and let him break in 
pieces on the ground, and come and join us.' 

And the dragon's horse plunged and reared, and the 
dragon fell on a rock, which broke him in pieces. Then 
the empress mounted his horse, and rode back with her 
husband to her kingdom, over which they ruled for many 
years. 

fVolksinarchen der Serben.] 



Digitized by Microsoft ® 



THE LUTE PLAYER 



Once upon a time there was a king and queen who lived 
happily and comfortably together. They were very fond 
of each other and had nothing to worry them, but at last 
the king grew restless. He longed to go out into the 
world, to try his strength in battle against some enemy 
and to win all kinds of honour and glory. 

So he called his army together and gave orders to 
start for a distant country where a heathen king ruled 
who ill-treated or tormented everyone he could lay his 
hands on. The king then gave his parting orders and 
wise advice to his ministers, took a tender leave of his 
wife, and set off with his army across the seas. 

I cannot say whether the voyage was short or long ; 
but at last he reached the country of the heathen king and 
marched ou, defeating all who came in his way. But this 
did not last long, for in time he came to a mountain pass, 
where a large army was waiting for him, who put his 
soldiers to flight, and took the king himself prisoner. 

He was carried off to the prison where the heathen 
king kept his captives, and now our poor friend had a 
very bad time indeed. All night long the prisoners were 
chained up, and in the morning they were yoked together 
like oxen and had to plough the land till it grew 
dark. 

This state of things went on for three years before the 
king found any means of sending news of himself to his 
dear queen, but at last he contrived to send this letter : 
( Sell all our castles and palaces, and put all our treasures 



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THE LUTE PLAYER 73 

in pawn and come and deliver me out of this horrible 
prison/ 

The queen received the letter, read it, and wept bitterly 
as she said to herself, l How can I deliver my dearest 
husband ? If I go myself and the heathen king sees me 
he will just take me to be one of his wives. If I were to 
send one of the ministers ! — but I hardly know if I can 
depend on them.' 

She thought, and thought, and at last an idea came 
into her head. She cut off all her beautiful long brown 
hair and dressed herself in boy's clothes. Then she took 
her lute and, without saying anything to anyone, she went 
forth into the wide world. 

She travelled through many lands and saw many cities, 
and went through many hardships before she got to the 
town where the heathen king lived. When she got there 
she walked all round the palace and at the back she saw 
the prison. Then she went into the great court in front 
of the palace, and taking her lute in her hand, she began 
to play so beautifully that one felt as though one could 
never hear enough. 

After she had played for some time she began to sing, 
and her voice was sweeter than the lark's : 

' I come from my own country far 
Into this foreign land, 
Of all I own I take alone 
My sweet lute in my hand. 
1 Oh ! who will thank me for my song, 
Reward my simple lay 1 
Like lover's sighs it still shall rise 
To greet thee day by day. 
' I sing of blooming flowers 

Made sweet by sun and rain ; 
Of all the bliss of love's first kiss, 

And parting's cruel pain. 
* Of the sad captive's longing 

Within his prison wall, 
Of hearts that sigh when none are nigh 
To answer to their call. 



74 THE LUTE PLAYER 

' My song begs for your pity, 
And gifts from out your store, 
And as I play my gentle lay 
I linger near your door. 
'And if you hear my singing 
Within your palace, sire, 
Oh ! give, I pray, this happy day, 
To me my heart's desire/ 

No sooner had the heathen king heard this touching 
song sung by such a lovely voice, than he had the singer 
brought before him. 

'Welcome, lute player/ said he. 'Where do you 
come from ? ' 

4 My country, sire, is far away across many seas. 
For years I have been wandering about the world and 
gaining my living by my music/ 

' Stay here then a few days, and when you wish to 
leave I will give you what you ask for in your song — 
your heart's desire.' 

So the lute p)la} T er stayed on in the palace and sang 
and played almost all day long to the king, who could 
never tire of listening and almost forgot to eat or drink or 
to torment people. He cared for nothing but the music, 
and nodded his head as he declared, ' That 's something 
like playing and singing. It makes me feel as if some 
gentle hand had lifted every care and sorrow from me.' 

After three days the lute player came to take leave of 
the king. 

'Well/ said the king, 'what do you desire as your 
reward?' 

' Sire, give me one of your prisoners. You have so 
many in your prison, and I should be glad of a companion 
on my journeys. When I hear his happy voice as I 
travel along I shall think of you and thank you.' 

4 Come along then,' said the king, ' choose whom you 
will.' And he took the lute player through the prison 
himself. 



THE LUTE PLAYER 75 

The queen walked about amongst the prisoners, and 
at length she picked out her husband and took him with 
her on her journey. They were long on their way, but 
he never found out who she was, and she led him nearer 
and nearer to his own country. 

When they reached the frontier the prisoner said : 
4 Let me go now, kind lad ; I am no common prisoner, 
but the king of this country. Let me go free and ask 
what you will as your reward.' 

4 Do not speak of reward/ answered the lute player. 
4 Go in peace,' 

'Theu come with me, dear boy, and be my guest.' 
4 When the proper time comes I shall be at your 
palace,' was the reply, and so they parted. 

The queen took a short way home, got there before 
the king and changed her dress. 

An hour later all the people in the palace were 
running to and fro and crying out : 4 Our king has come 
back! Our king has returned to us.' 

The king greeted everyone very kindly, but he would 
not so much as look at the queen. 

Then he called all his council and ministers together 
and said to them : 

4 See what sort of a wife I have. Here she is falling 
on my neck, but when I was pining in prison and sent 
her word of it she did nothing to help me.' 

And his council answered with one voice, 4 Sire, when 
news was brought from you the queen disappeared and 
no one knew where she went. She only returned 
to-day.' 

Then the king was very angry and cried, 4 Judge my 
faithless wife! Never would you have seen your king 
again, if a young lute player had not delivered him. I shall 
remember him with love and gratitude as long as I 
live. ' 

Whilst the king was sitting with his council, the 
queen found time to disguise herself. She took her lute, 



76 THE LUTE PLAYER 

and slipping into the court in front of the palace she 
sang, clear and sweet : 

' I sing the captive's longing 
Within his prison wall, 
Of hearts that sigh when none are nigh 
To answer to their call. 

' My song begs for your pity, 
And gifts from out your store, 
And as I play my gentle lay 
I linger near your door. 

' And if you hear my singing 
Within your palace, sire, 
Oh ! give, I pray, this happy day, 
To me my heart's desire.' 

As soon as the king heard this song he ran out to 
meet the lute player, took him by the hand and led him 
into the palace. 

'Here,' he cried, 'is the boy who released me from 
my prison. And now, my true friend, I will indeed give 
you your heart's desire.' 

4 1 am sure you will not be less generous than the 
heathen king was, sire. I ask of you what I asked and 
obtained from him. But this time I don't mean to give 
up what I get. I want you — yourself ! ' 

And as she spoke she threw off her long cloak and 
everyone saw it was the queen. 

Who can tell how happy the king was? In the joy of 
his heart he gave a great feast to the whole world, and 
the whole world came and rejoiced with him for a whole 
week. 

I was there too, and ate and drank many good things. 
I sha'n't forget that feast as long as I live. 

[From the Russian.] 



Digitized by Microsoft ® 



77 



THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 

Oxce upon a time the king of the Goldland lost himself 
in a forest, and try as he would he could not find the 
way out. As he was wandering down one path which 
had looked at first more hopeful than the rest he saw a 
man coming towards him. 

' What are you doing here, friend ? ' asked the stranger ; 
i darkness is falling fast, and soon the wild beasts will 
come from their lairs to seek for food.' 

4 I have lost myself,' answered the king, ' and am 
trying to get home.' 

' Then promise me that you will give me the first 
thing that comes out of your house, and I will show you 
the way,' said the stranger. 

The king did not answer directly, but after awhile he 
spoke : ' Why should I give away my best sporting dog. 
I can surely find my way out of the forest as well as 
this man.' 

So the stranger left him, but the king followed path 
after path for three whole days, with no better success 
than before. He was almost in despair, when the 
stranger suddenly appeared, blocking up his way. 

' Promise you will give me the first thing that comes 
out of your house to meet you? ' 

But still the king was stiff-necked and would promise 
nothing. 

For some days longer he wandered up and down the 
forest, trying first one path, then another, but his courage 
at last gave way, and he sank wearily on the ground under 



78 THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 

a tree, feeling sure his last hour had come. Then for the 
third time the stranger stood before the king, and said : 

4 Why are you such a fool ? What can a dog be to 
you, that you should give your life for him like this? 
Just promise me the reward I want, and I will guide you 
out of the forest. 7 

4 Well, my life is worth more than a thousand dogs,' 
answered the king, l the welfare of my kingdom depends 
on me. I accept your terms, so take me to rny palace.' 
Scarcely had he uttered the words than he found himself 
at the edge of the wood, with the palace in the dim 
distance. He made all the haste he could, and just as he 
reached the great gates out came the nurse with the 
royal baby, who stretched out his arms to his father. 
The king shrank back, and ordered the nurse to take the 
baby away at once. Then his great boarhound bounded 
up to him, but his caresses were only answered by a 
violent push. 

W x hen the king's anger was spent, and he was able to 
think what was best to be done, he exchanged his baby, 
a beautiful bo} T , for the daughter of a peasant, and the 
prince lived roughly as the son of poor people, while the 
little girl slept in a golden cradle, under silken sheets. 
At the end of a year, the stranger arrived to claim his 
property, and took away the little girl, believing her to 
be the true child of the king. The king was so delighted 
with the success of his plan that he ordered a great 
feast to be got ready, and gave splendid presents to the 
foster parents of his son, so that he might lack nothing. 
But he did not dare to bring back the baby, lest the trick 
should be found out. The peasants were quite contented 
with this arrangement, which gave them food and money 
in abundance. 

By-and-by the boy grew big and tall, and seemed to 
lead a happy life in the house of his foster parents. But 
a shadow hung over him which really poisoned most of 
his pleasure, and that was the thought of the poor 



THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 79 

innocent girl who had suffered in his stead, for his foster 
father had told him in secret, that he was the king's son. 
And the prince determined that when he grew old enough 
he would travel all over the world, and never rest till he 
had set her free. To become king at the cost of a maiden's 
life was too heavy a price to pay. So one day he put 
on the dress of a farm servant, threw a sack of peas on 
his back, and marched straight into the forest where 
eighteen years before his father had lost himself. After 
he had walked some way he began to cry loudly : ' Oh, 
how unlucky I am ! Where can I be ? Is there no one to 
show me the way out of the wood ? ' 

Then appeared a strange man with a long grey 
beard, with a leather bag hanging from his girdle. He 
nodded cheerfully to the prince, and said : s I know this 
place well, and can lead you out of it, if you will promise 
me a good reward/ 

4 What can a beggar such as I promise you ? ? 
answered the prince. 4 I have nothing to give you save 
my life ; even the coat on my back belongs to my master, 
whom I serve for my keep and my clothes.' 

The stranger looked at the sack of peas, and said, 
4 But you must possess something ; you are carrying this 
sack, which seems to be very heavy.' 

4 It is full of peas,' was the reply.. ' My old aunt died 
last night, without leaving money enough to buy peas 
to give the watchers, as is the custom throughout the 
country. I have borrowed these peas from my master, 
and thought to take a short cut across the forest ; but I 
have lost myself, as you see.' 

4 Then you are an orphan?' asked the stranger. 
4 Why should you not enter my service ? I want a sharp 
fellow in the house, and you please me.' 

4 Why not, indeed, if we can strike a bargain ? J said 
the other. 4 1 was born a peasant, and strange bread is 
always bitter, so it is the same to me whom I serve ! What 
wages will you give me ? ' 



80 



THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 



' Every day fresh food, meat twice a week, butter and 
vegetables, your summer and winter clothes, and a 
portion of land for your own use.' 

A, 




The Prmce n Hl3ieet^a 3traTige ram 



4 1 shall be satisfied with that,' said the youth. ' Some- 
body else will have to bury my aunt. I will go with you ! ' 




THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 81 

Now this bargain seemed to please the old fellow so 
much that he spun round like a top, and sang so loud 
that the whole wood rang with his voice. Then he set 
out with his companion, and chattered so fast that he 
never noticed that his new servant kept dropping peas 
out of the sack. At night they slept under a fig tree, and 
when the sun rose started on their way. About noon 
they came to a large stone, and here the old fellow 
stopped, looked carefully round, gave a sharp whistle, 
and stamped three times on the ground with his left foot. 
Suddenly there appeared under the stone a secret door, 
which led to what looked like the mouth of a cave. The 
old fellow seized the youth by the arm, and said roughly, 
1 Follow me ! ' 

Thick darkness surrounded them, yet it seemed to the 
prince as if their path led into still deeper depths. After 
a long while he thought he saw a glimmer of light, but 
the light was neither that of the sun nor of the moon. 
He looked eagerly at it, but found it was only a kind of 
pale cloud, which was all the light this strange underworld 
could boast. Earth and water, trees and plants, birds and 
beasts, each was different from those he had seen before ; 
but what most struck terror into his heart was the abso- 
lute stillness that reigned everywhere. Not a rustle or 
a sound could be heard. Here and there he noticed a 
bird sitting on a branch, with head erect and swelling 
throat, but his ear caught nothing. The dogs opened 
their mouths as if to bark, the toiling oxen seemed about 
to bellow, but neither bark nor bellow reached the prince. 
The water flowed noiselessly over the pebbles, the wind 
bowed the tops of the trees, flies and chafers darted about, 
without breaking the silence. The old greybeard uttered 
no word, and when his companion tried to ask him the 
meauing of it all he felt that his voice died in his 
throat. 

How long this fearful stillness lasted I do uot know, 
but the prince gradually felt his heart turning to ice, his 

6 



82 THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 

hair stood up like bristles, and a cold chill was creeping 
clown his spine, when at last — oh, ecstasy ! — a faint noise 
broke on his straining ears, and this life of shadows 
suddenly became real. It sounded as if a troop of horses 
were ploughing their way over a moor. 

Then the greybeard opened his mouth, and said : ' The 
kettle is boiling ; we are expected at home.'' 

They walked on a little further, till the prince thought 
he heard the grinding of a saw-mill, as if dozeus of saws 
were working together, but his guide observed, ' The 
grandmother is sleeping soundly; listen how she snores. 7 

When they had climbed a hill which lay before them 
the prince saw in the distance the house of his master, 
but it was so surrounded with buildings of all kinds 
that the place looked more like a village or even a small 
town. They reached it at last, and found an empty 
kennel standing in front of the gate. ' Creep inside this,' 
said the master, i and wait while I go in and see my 
grandmother. Like all very old people, she is very 
obstinate, and cannot bear fresh faces about her.' 

The prince crept tremblingly into the kennel, and 
began to regret the daring which had brought him into 
this scrape. 

By-and-by the master came back, and called him 
from his hiding-place. Something had put out his temper, 
for with a frown he said, 4 Watch carefully our ways in 
the house, and beware of making auy mistake, or it will 
go ill with you. Keep your eyes and ears open, and your 
mouth shut, obey without questions. Be grateful if you 
will, but never speak unless you are spoken to.' 

When the prince stepped over the threshold he caught 
sight of a maiden of wonderful beauty, with brown eyes 
and fair curly hair. c AYell 1 ' the young man said to 
himself, ' if the old fellow has many daughters like that 
I should not mind being his son-in-law. This one is just 
what I admire ' ; and he watched her lay the table, bring 
in the food, and take her seat by the fire as if she had 



THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 83 

never noticed that a strange man was present. Then she 
took out a needle and thread, and began to darn her 
stockings. The master sat at table alone, and invited 
neither his new servant nor the maid to eat with him. 
Neither was the old grandmother anywhere to be seen. 
His appetite was tremendous : he soon cleared all the 
dishes, and ate euough to satisfy a dozeu men. When at 
last he could eat no more he said to the girl, 4 Now you 
can pick up the pieces, and take what is left in the iron 
pot for your own dinner, but give the bones to the dog.' 

The prince did not at all like the idea of dining off 
scraps, which he helped the girl to pick up, but, after all, 
he found that there was plenty to eat, and that the food 
was very good. During the meal he stole many glances 
at the maiden, and would even have spoken to her, but 
she gave him no encouragement. Every time he opened 
his mouth for the purpose she looked at him sternly, as 
if to say, ' Silence,' so he could only let his eyes speak for 
him. Besides, the master was stretched on a bench by 
the oven after his huge meal, and would have heard every- 
thing. 

After supper that night, the old man said to the 
prince, ' For two clays you may rest from the fatigues of 
the journey, and look about the house. But the day 
after to-morrow you must come with me, and I will point 
out the work you have to do. The maid will show you 
where you are to sleep.' 

The prince thought, from this, he had leave to speak, 
but his master turned on him with a face of thunder and 
exclaimed : 

' You dog of a servant ! If } t ou disobey the laws of 
the house you will soon find yourself a head shorter! 
Hold your tongue, and leave me in peace.' 

The girl made a sign to him to follow her, and, throw- 
ing open a door, nodded to him to go in. He would have 
lingered a moment, for he thought she looked sad, but 
dared not do so, for fear of the old man's anger. 



84 THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 

; It is impossible that she can be his daughter ! ' he 
said to himself, ' for she has a kind heart. I am quite sure 
she must be the same girl who was brought here instead 
of me, so I am bound to risk my head in this mad 
adventure.' He got into bed, but it was long before he 
fell asleep, and even then his dreams gave him no rest. 
He seemed to be surrounded by dangers, and it was only 
the power of the maiden who helped him through it all. 

When he woke his first thoughts were for the girl, 
whom he found hard at work. He drew water from the 
well and carried it to the house for her, kindled the fire 
under the iron pot, and, in fact, did everything that came 
into his head that could be of any use to her. In the 
afternoon he went out, in order to learn something of his 
new home, and wondered greatly not to come across the 
old grandmother. In his rambles he came to the farm- 
yard, where a beautiful white horse had a stall to itself; 
in another was a black cow with two white-faced calves, 
while the clucking of geese, ducks, and hens reached him 
from a distance. 

Breakfast, dinner, and supper were as savoury as before, 
and the prince would have been quite content with his 
quarters had it not been for the difficulty of keeping 
silence in the presence of the maiden. On the evening 
of the second day he went, as he had been told, to 
receive his orders for the following morning. 

( I am going to set you something very easy to do to- 
morrow/ said the old man when his servant entered. 
1 Take this scythe and cut as much grass as the white 
horse will want for its day's feed, and clean out its 
stall. If I come back and find the manger empty it will 
go ill with you. So beware ! ' 

The prince left the room, rejoicing in his heart, and 
saying to himself, 'Well, I shall soon get through that! 
If I have never yet handled either the plough or the 
scythe, at least I have often watched the country people 
work them, and know how easy it is. 1 



THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 85 

He was just going to open bis door, when the maiden 
glided softly past and whispered in his ear : ' What task 
has he set you?' 

4 For to-morrow/ answered the prince, 'it is really 
nothing at all ! Just to cut hay for the horse, and to 
clean out his stall ! ' 

4 Oh, luckless being ! ' sighed the girl; 'how will you 
ever get through with it. The white horse, who is our 
master's grandmother, is always hungry : it takes twenty 
men always mowing to keep it in food for one day, and 
another twenty to clean out its stall. How, then, do you 
expect to do it all by yourself? But listen to me, and do 
what I tell you. It is your only chance. When you 
have filled the manger as full as it will hold you must 
weave a strong plait of the rushes which grow among the 
meadow hay, and cut a thick peg of stout wood, and be 
sure that the horse sees what you are doing. Then it will 
ask you what it is for, and you will say, " With this plait 
I intend to bind up your mouth so that you cannot eat 
any more, and with this peg I am going to keep you still 
in one spot, so that you cannot scatter your corn and 
water all over the place!" ' After these words the 
maiden went away as softly as she had come. 

Early the next morning he set to work. His scythe 
danced through the grass much more easily than he had 
hoped, and soon he had enough to fill the manger. He 
put it in the crib, and returned with a second supply, 
when to his horror he found the crib empty. Then he 
knew that without the maiden's advice he would 
certainly have been lost, and began to put it into practice. 
He took out the rushes which had somehow got mixed 
up with the hay, and plaited them quickly. 

4 My son, what are you doing?' asked the horse 
wonderingly. 

4 Oh, nothing!' replied he. 'Just weaving a chin 
strap to bind your jaws together, in case you might wish 

to eat any more! b/g/f/zed by Microsoft® 



86 THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 

The white horse sighed deeply when it heard this, and 
made up its mind to be content with what it had eaten. 

The youth next began to clean out the stall, and the 
horse knew it had found a master ; and by mid-day there 
was still fodder in the manger, and the place was as clean 
as a new pin. He had barely finished when in walked 
the old man, who stood astonished at the door. 

' Is it really you who have been clever enough to do 
that? ' he asked. ' Or has some one else given you a hint? ' 

'Oh, I have had no help,' replied the prince, ' except 
what my poor weak head could give me.' 

The old man frowned, and went away, and the prince 
rejoiced that everything had turned out so well. 

In the evening his master said, ' To-morrow I have no 
special task to set you, but as the girl has a great deal to 
do in the house you must milk the black cow for her. 
But take care you milk her dry, or it ma}' be the worse 
for you.' 

' Well,' thought the prince as he went away, ' unless 
there is some trick behind, this does not sound ver} r hard. 
I have never milked a cow before, but I have good strong 
fingers.' 

He was very sleepy, and was just going toward his 
room, when the maiden came to him and asked: 'What 
is your task to-morrow ? ' 

'I am to help you,' he answered, 'and have nothing 
to do all day, except to milk the black cow dry.' 

' Oh, } T ou ewe unlucky,' cried she. ' If you were to try 
from morning till night you couldn't do it. There is only 
one wa}' of escaping the danger, and that is, when you go 
to milk her, take with you a pan of burning coals and a 
pair of tongs. Place the pan on the floor of the stall, 
and the tongs on the fire, and blow with all your might, 
till the coals burn brightly. The black cow will ask you 
what is the meaning of all this, and you must answer 
what I will whisper to you.' And she stood on tip-toe 
and whispered something in his ear, and then went away. 



THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 



87 



The dawn had scarcely reddened the sky when the 
prince jumped out of bed, and, with the pan of coals in 
one hand and the milk pail in the other, went straight 
to the cow's stall, and began to do exactly as the maiden 
had told him the evening before. 

The black cow watched him with surprise for some 
time, and then said; 'What are you doing, sonny?' 




4 Oh, nothing/ answered he; 'I am only heating a pair 
of tongs in case you may not feel inclined to give as 
much milk as I want.' 

The cow sighed deeply, and looked at the milkman 
with fear, but he took no notice, and milked briskly into 
the pail, till the cow ran dry. 

Just at that moment the old man entered the stable, and 
sat down to milk the cow himself, but not a drop of milk 
could he get. ' Have you really managed it all yourself, 
or did somebody help you ? ' 

' I have nobody to help me, ' answered the prince, ' but 



88 THE G HATEFUL PRINCE 

my own poor head.' The old man got up from his seat 
and went away. 

That night, when the prince went to his master to 
hear what his next day's work was to be, the old man 
said : ' I have a little hay-stack out in the meadow which 
must be brought in to dry. To-morrow you will have to 
stack it all in the shed, and, as you value your life, 
be careful not to leave the smallest strand behind.' 
The prince was overjoyed to hear he had nothing worse 
to do. 

'To carry a little hay-rick requires no great skill,' 
thought he, ' and it will give me no trouble, for the horse 
will have to draw it in. I am certainly not going to spare 
the old grandmother.' 

By-aud-by the maiden stole up to ask what task he had 
for the next day. 

The young man laughed, and said : i It appears that I 
have got to learn all kinds of farmer's work. To-morrow 
I have to carry a hay-rick, and leave not a stalk in the 
meadow, and that is my whole day's work ! ' 

' Oh, you unlucky creature ! ' cried she ; 'and how do 
you think you are to do it. If } T ou had all the men in the 
world to help you, you could not clear off this one little 
hay-rick in a week. The instant you have thrown down 
the hay at the top, it will take root again from below. 
But listen to what I say. You must steal out at day- 
break to-morrow and bring out the white horse and some 
good strong ropes. Then get on the hay-stack, put the 
ropes round it, and harness the horse to the ropes. 
When you are ready, climb up the hay-stack and begin 
to count one, two, three. The horse will ask you what 
you are counting, and you must be sure to answer what I 
whisper to you.' 

So the maiden whispered something in his ear, and 
left the room. And the prince knew nothing better to do 
than to get into bed. 

He slept soundly, and it was still almost dark when he 



THE GRATEFUL PRIXGE 89 

got up and proceeded to carry out the instructions given him 
by the girl. First he chose some stout ropes, and then he 
led the horse out of the stable and rode it to the hay-stack, 
which was made up of fifty cartloads, so that it could 
hardly be called i a little one/ The prince did all that the 
maiden had told him, and when at last he was seated on 
top of the rick, and had counted up to twenty, he heard 
the horse ask in amazement : < What are you counting up 
there, my son?' 

'Oh, nothing,' said he, 'I was just amusing myself 
witl] counting the packs of wolves in the forest, but there 
are really so many of them that I don't think I should 
ever be done.' 

The word ' wolf ' was hardly out of his mouth than 
the white horse was off like the wind, so that in the 
twinkling of an eye it had reached the shed, dragging 
the hay-stack behind it. The master was dumb with 
surprise as he came in after breakfast and found his man's 
day':; work quite done. 

6 Was it really you who were so clever?' asked he. 
4 Or did some one give you good advice?' 

' i Oh, I have only myself to take counsel with,' said 
the prince, and the old man went away, shaking his 
head. 

Late in the evening the prince went to his master to 
learn what he was to do next day. 

' To-morrow,' said the old man, ' you must bring the 
white-headed calf to the meadow, and, as you value your 
life, take care it does not escape from you.' 

The prince answered nothing, but thought, 4 Well, 
most peasants of nineteen have got a whole herd to look 
after, so surely I can manage one.' And he went towards 
his room, where the maiden met him. 

' To-morrow I have got an idiot's work/ said he ; 
' nothing but to take the white-headed calf to the 
meadow.' 

4 Oh, you unlucky being ! ' sighed she. ' Do 3 t ou know 



90 THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 

that this calf is so swift that in a single day he can run 
three times round the world? Take heed to what I tell 
you. Bind oue end of this silk thread to the left fore-leg 
of the calf, and the other end to the little toe of your left 
foot, so that the calf will never be able to leave your side, 
whether you walk, stand, or lie.' After this the prince 
went to bed and slept soundly. 

The next morning he did exactly what the maiden had 
told him, and led the calf with the silken thread to the 
meadow, where it stuck to his side like a faithful dog. 

By sunset, it was back again in its stall, and then 
came the master and said, with a frown, ' Were you really 
so clever yourself, or did somebody tell you what to do?' 

' Oh, I have only my own poor head,* answered the 
prince, and the old man went away growling, < I don't 
believe a word of it ! I am sure you have found some 
clever friend ! ? 

In the evening he called the prince and said : ; To- 
morrow I have no work for you, but when I wake you 
must come before my bed, and give me your hand in 
greeting.' 

The young man wondered at this strange freak, and 
went laughing in search of the maiden. 

' Ah, it is no laughing matter,' sighed she. ' He means 
to eat you, and there is only one way in which I can help 
you. You must heat an iron shovel red hot, and hold it 
out to him instead of your hand.' 

So next morning he wakened very early, and had 
heated the shovel before the old man was awake. At 
length he heard him calling, 4 You lazy fellow, where are 
you? Come and wish me good-morning.' But when the 
prince entered with the red-hot shovel his master only 
said. ' I am very ill to-da} T , and too weak even to touch 
your hand. You must return this evening, when I may 
be better.' 

The prince loitered about all day, and in the evening 
went back to the old man's room. He was received in 



THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 91 

the most friendly maimer, and, to his surprise, his master 
exclaimed, ' I am very well satislied with you. Come to 
me at dawn and bring the maiden with you. I know you 
have long loved each other, and I wish to make you man 
and wife.' 

The young man nearly jumped into the air for joy, 
but, remembering the rules of the house, he managed to 
keep still. When he told the maiden, he saw to his 
astonishment that she had become as white as a sheet, 
and she was quite dumb. 

4 The old man has found out who was your counsellor,' 
she said when she could speak, 4 and he means to destroy 
us both. We must escape somehow, or else we shall be 
lost. Take an axe, and cut off the head of the calf with 
one blow. With a second, split its head in two, and in its 
brain you will see a bright red ball. Bring that to me. 
Meanwhile, I will do what is needful here.' 

And the prince thought to himself, ' Better kill the 
calf than be killed ourselves. If we can once escape, we 
will go back home. The peas which I strewed about 
must have sprouted, so that we shall not miss the way/ 

Then he went into the stall, and with one blow of the 
axe killed the calf, and with the second split its brain. 
In an instant the place was filled with light, as the red 
ball fell from the brain of the calf. The prince picked it 
up, and, wrapping it round with a thick cloth, hid it in his 
bosom. Mercifully, the cow slept through it all, or by 
her cries she would have awakened the master. 

He looked round, and at the door stood the maiden, 
holding a little bundle in her arms. 

4 Where is the ball? ' she asked. 

' Here/ answered he. 

4 We must lose no time in escaping,' she went on, and 
uncovered a tiny bit of the shining ball, to light them on 
their way. 

As the prince had expected, the peas had taken root, 
and grown into a little hedge, so that they were sure they 



02 



THE GRATEFUL FRINGE 



would not lose the path. As they fled, the girl told him 
that she had overheard a conversation between the old 
man and his grandmother, saying that she was a king's 
daughter, whom the old fellow had obtained by canning 
from her parents. The prince, who knew all about the 




affair, was silent, though he was glad from his heart that 
it had fallen to his lot to set her free. So they went on 
till the day began to dawn. 

The old man slept very late that morning, and rubbed 
his eyes till he was properly awake. Then he remembered 
that very soon the couple were to present themselves 
before him. After waiting and waiting till quite a long 
time had passed, he said to himself, with a grin, 'Well, 
they are not in much hurry to be married,' and waited again. 



THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 03 

At last he grew a little uneasy, and cried loudly, ; Man 
and maid ! what has become of you ? ' 

After repeating this many times, he became quite 
frightened, but, call as he would, neither man nor maid 
appeared. At last he jumped angrily out of bed to go in 
search of the culprits, but only found an empty house, 
and beds that had never been slept in. Then he went 
straight to the stable, where the sight of the dead calf 
told him all. Swearing loudly, he opened the door of the 
third stall quickly, and cried to his goblin servants to go 
and chase the fugitives. c Bring them to me, however 
you may find them, for have them I must! ' he said. So 
spake the old man, and the servants fled like the wind. 

The runaways were crossing a great plain, when the 
maiden stopped. ; Something has happened!' she said. 
4 The ball moves in my hand, and I'm sure we are being 
followed! ' and behind them they saw a black cloud flying 
before the wind. Then the maiden turned the ball thrice 
in her hand, and cried, 

'Listen to me, my ball, my ball. 
Be quick and change me into a brook, 
And my lover into a little fish/ 

And in an instant there was a brook with a fish swimming 
in it. The goblins arrived just after, but, seeing nobody, 
waited for a little, then hurried home, leaving the brook 
and the fish undisturbed. When they were quite out of 
sight, the brook and the fish returned to their usual shapes 
and proceeded on their journey. 

When the goblins, tired and with empty hands, re- 
turned, their master inquired what they had seen, and if 
nothing strange had befallen them. 

4 Nothing,' said they ; 4 the plain was quite empty, save 
for a brook and a fish swimming in it.' 

4 Idiots ! ' roared the master ; ' of course it was they ! ' 
And dashing open the door of the fifth stall, he told the 
goblins inside that they must go and drink up the brook, 



94 THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 

and catch the fish. And the goblins jumped up, .and flew 
like the wind. 

The young pair had almost reached the edge of the 
wood, when the maiden stopped again. ; Something has 
happened/ said she. ' The ball is moving in my hand,' 
and looking round she beheld a cloud flying towards 
them, large and blacker than the first, and striped with 
red. fc Those are our pursuers,' cried she, and turning 
the ball three times in her hand she spoke to it thus : 

' Listen to me, my ball, my ball. 
Be quick and change us both. 
Me into a wild rose bush, 
And him into a rose on my stem.' 

And in the twinkling of an eye it was done. Only 
just in time too, for the goblins w r ere close at hand, and 
looked round eagerly for the stream and the fish. But 
neither stream nor fish was to be seen ; nothing but a 
rose bush. So they went sorrowing home, and when 
they were out of sight the rose bush and rose returned to 
their proper shapes and walked all the faster for the little 
rest the} 7 had had. 

'Well, did you find them?' asked the old man when 
his goblins eame back. 

' No,' replied the leader ' of the goblins, ' w T e found 
neither brook nor fish in the desert.' 

' And did you find nothing else at all ? ' f 

' Oh, nothing but a rose tree on the edge of a wood, with 
a rose hanging on it.' 

4 Idiots !' cried he. 'Why, that was they.' And he 
threw open the door of the seventh stall, where his 
mightiest goblins were locked in. 'Bring them to me, 
however you find them, dead or alive ! ' thundered he, ' for 
I will have them ! Tear up the rose tree and the roots too, 
and don't leave anything behind, how T ever strange it may 
be!' 

The fugitives were resting in the shade of a wood, and 



THE GRATEFUL FRINGE 



95 



were refreshing themselves with food 
and drink. Suddenly the maiden 
looked up. ' Something has hap- 
pened,' said she. ' The ball has 
nearly jumped out of my bosom ! 
Some one is certainly following us, 
and the danger is near, but the trees 
hide our enemies from us.' 

As she spoke she took the ball 
in her hand, and said : 

' Listen to me, my ball, my ball. 
Be quick and change me into a breeze, 
And make my lover into a midge.' 

An instant, 
and the girl 
was dissolved 
into thin air, 
while t h e 
prince darted 




D, 



ANGERS FOLLOWING 



96 THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 

about like a midge. The next moment a crowd of goblins 
rushed up, and looked about in search of something 
strange, for neither a rose bush nor anything else was to 
be seen. But they had hardly turned their backs to go 
home empty-handed when the prince and the maiden 
stood on the earth again. 

4 We must make all the haste we can,' said she, 4 before 
the old man himself comes to seek us, for he will know 
us under any disguise.' 

They ran on till they reached such a dark part of 
the forest that, if it had not been for the light shed by the 
ball, they could not have made their way at all. Worn 
out and breathless, they came at length to a large stone, 
and here the ball began to move restlessly. The maiden, 
seeing this, exclaimed : 

' Listen to me, my ball, my ball. 
Roll the stone quickly to one side, 
That we may find a door.' 

And in a moment the stone had rolled away, and they 
had passed through the door to the world again. 

4 Now we are safe, 5 cried she. * Here the old wizard 
has no more power over us, and we can guard ourselves 
from his spells. But, my friend, we have to jwt ! You 
will return to your parents, and I must go in search of 
mine.' 

' No ! no ! ' exclaimed the prince. ' I will never 
part from you. You must come with me and be my wife. 
We have gone through many troubles together, and now 
we will share our joys.' The maiden resisted his words 
for some time, but at last she went with him. 

In the forest they met a woodcutter, who told them 
that in the palace, as well as in all the land, there had 
been great sorrow over the loss of the prince, and many 
years had now passed away during which they had found 
no traces of him. So, by the help of the magic ball, the 
maiden managed that he should put on the same clothes 



THE GRATEFUL FRINGE 07 

that he had been wearing at the time he had vanished, so 
that his father might know him more quickly. She her- 
self stayed behind in a. peasant's hut, so that father and 
son might meet alone. 

But the father was no longer there, for the loss of his 
son had killed him ; and on his deathbed he confessed 
to his people how he had contrived that the old wizard 
should carry away a peasant's child instead of the prince, 
wherefore this punishment had fallen upon him. 

The prince wept bitterly when he heard this news, 
for he had loved his father well, and for three days he 
ate and drank nothing. But on the fourth day he stood 
in the presence of his people as their new king, and, 
calling his councillors, he told them all the strange things 
that had befallen him, and how the maiden had borne 
him safe through all. 

And the councillors cried with one voice, ' Let her be 
your wife, and our liege lady/ 

And that is the end of the story. 

[Ehstnische Marchen.] 



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98 



THE CHILD WHO CAME FROM AN EGG 



Once upon a time there lived a queen whose heart was 
sore because, she had no children. She was sad enough 
when her husband was at home with her, but when he 
was away she would see nobody, but sat and wept all 
clay long. 

Now it happened that a war broke out with the king 
of a neighbouring country, and the queen was left in the 
palace alone. She was so unhappy that she felt as if 
the walls would stifle her, so she wandered out into the 
garden, and threw herself down on a grassy bank, under 
the shade of a lime tree. She had been there for some 
time, when a rustle among the leaves caused her to look 
up, and she saw an old woman limping on her crutches 
towards the stream that flowed through the grounds. 

When she had quenched her thirst, she came straight 
up to the queen, and said to her : ' Do not take it evil, 
noble lady, that I dare to speak to you, and do not 
be afraid of me, for it may be that I shall bring you good 
luck/ 

The queen looked at her doubtfully, and answered: 
4 You do not seem as if you had been very lucky your- 
self, or to have much good fortune to spare for anyone 
else.' 

' Under rough bark lies smooth wood and sweet 
kernel,' replied the old woman. ' Let me see your hand, 
that T may read the future/ 

The queen held out her hand, and the old woman 
examined its lines closely. Then she said, 4 Your heart is 



THE CHILD WHO CAME FROM AN EGG 99 

heavy with two sorrows, one old and one new. The new 
sorrow is for your husband, who is fighting far away from 
you ; but, believe me, he is well, and will soon bring 




you joyful news. But your other sorrow is much older 
than this. Your happiness is spoilt because you have 
no children.' At these words the queen became scarlet, 



100 THE CHILD WHO CAME FROM AN EGG 

and tried to draw away her hand, but the old woman 
said : 

'Have a little patience, for there are some things I 
want to see more clearly.' 

4 Bat who are you ? ' asked the queen, ' for you seem 
to be able to read my heart.' 

' Never mind my name,' answered she, ' but rejoice 
that it is permitted to me to show you a way to lessen 
your grief. You must, however, promise to do exactly 
what I tell you, if any good is to come of it.' 

' Oh, I will obey you exactly, ; cried the queen, ' and if 
you can help me you shall have in return anything you 
ask for.' 

The old woman stood thinking for a little : then she 
drew something from the folds of her dress, and, undoing 
a number of wrappings, brought out a tiny basket made 
of birch-bark. She held it out to the queen, saying, ' In 
the basket you will find a bird's egg. This you must be 
careful to keep in a warm place for three months, when 
it will turn into a doll. Lay the doll in a basket lined 
with soft wool, and leave it alone, for it will not need 
any food, and by-and-by you will find it has grown to 
be the size of a baby. Then you will have a baby of 
your own, and you must put it by the side of the other 
child, and bring your husband to see his son and daughter. 
The boy you will bring up yourself, but you must en- 
trust the little girl to a nurse. When the time comes 
to have them christened you will invite me to be god- 
mother to the princess, and this is how you must send 
the invitation. Hidden in the cradle, you will find a 
goose's wing: throw this out of the window, and I will 
be with you directly ; but be sure you tell no one of all 
the things that have befallen you.' 

The queen was about to reply, but the old woman was 
already limping away, and before she had gone two steps 
she had turned into a young girl,' who moved so quickly 
that she seemed rather to fly than to walk. The queen, 



THE CHILD WHO CAME FROM AN EGG 101 

watching this transformation, could hardly believe her 
eyes, and would have taken it all for a dream, had it not 
been for the basket which she held in her hand. Feeling 
a different being from the poor sad woman who had 
wandered into the garden so short a time before, she 
hastened to her room, and felt carefully in the basket for 
the egg. There it was, a tiny thing of soft blue with 
little green spots, and she took it out and kept it in her 
bosom, which was the warmest place she could think of. 

A fortnight after the old woman had paid her visit, 
the king came home, having conquered his enemies. 
At this proof that the old woman had spoken truth, the 
queen's heart bounded, for she now had fresh hopes 
that the rest of the prophecy might be fulfilled. She 
cherished the basket and the egg as her cliiefest treasures, 
and had a golden case made for the basket, so that when the 
time came to lay the egg in it, it might not risk any harm. 

Three months passed, and, as the old woman had 
bidden her, the queen took the egg from her bosom, and 
laid it snugly amidst the warm woollen folds. The next 
morning she went to look at it, and the first thing she 
saw was the broken eggshell, and a little doll lying 
among the pieces. Then she felt happy at last, and 
leaving the doll in peace to grow, waited, as she had 
been told, for a baby of her own to lay beside it. 

In course of time, this came also, and the queen 
took the little girl out of the basket, and placed it with 
her son in a golden cradle which glittered with precious 
stones. Next she sent- for the king, who nearly went 
mad with joy at the sight of the children. 

Soon there came a day when the whole court was 
ordered to be present at the christening of the royal 
babies, and when all was ready the queen softly opened 
the window a little, and let the goose wing fly out. The 
guests were coming thick and fast, when suddenly 
there drove up a splendid coach drawn by six cream- 
coloured horses, and out of it stepped a young lady 



102 THE CHILD WHO CAME FROM AN EGG 

dressed in garments that shone like the sun. Her 
face could not be seen, for a veil covered her head, 
but as she came up to the place where the queen 
was standing with the babies she drew the veil aside, 
and everyone was dazzled with her beauty. She took 
the little girl in her arms, and holding it up before 
the assembled company announced that henceforward 
it would be known by the name of Dotterine • — a name 
which no one understood but the queen, who knew that 
the baby had come from the yolk of an egg. The boy 
was called YVillem. 

After the feast was over and the guests were going 
away, the godmother laid the baby in the cradle, and 
said to the queen, ' Whenever the baby goes to sleep, be 
sure you lay the basket beside her, and leave the egg- 
shells in it. As long as you do that, no evil can come to 
her ; so guard this treasure as the apple of your eye, and 
teach your daughter to do so likewise.' Then, kissing 
the baby three times, she mounted her coach and drove 
away. 

The children throve well, and Dotteriue's nurse 
loved her as if she were the baby's real mother. Every 
day the little girl seemed to grow prettier, and people 
used to say she would soon be as beautiful as her god- 
mother, but no one knew, except the nurse, that at night, 
when the child slept, a strange and lovely lady bent over 
her. At length she told the queen what she had seen, 
but they determined to keep it as a secret between them- 
selves. 

The twins were by this time nearly two years old, 
when the queen was taken suddenly ill. All the best 
doctors in the country were sent for, but it was no use, 
for there is no cure for death. The queen knew she was 
dying, and sent for Dotterine and her nurse, who had 
now become her lad3 T -in-waiting. To her, as her most 
faithful servant, she gave the lucky basket in charge, and 
besought her to treasure it carefully. ' AVhen my 



THE CHILD WHO CAME FROM AN EGG 103 

daughter,' said the queen, ' is ten years old, you are to 
hand it over to her, but warn her solemnly that her 
whole future happiness depends on the way she guards 
it. About my son, I have no fears. lie is the heir of 
the kingdom, and his father will look after him.' The 
lady-in-waiting promised to carry out the queen's direc- 
tions, and above all to keep the affair a secret. And that 
same morning the queen died. 

After some years the king married again, but he did 
not love his second wife as he had done his first, and had 
only married her for reasons of ambition. She hated her 
step-children, and the king, seeing this, kept them out of 
the way, under the care of Dotterine's old nurse. But if 
they ever strayed across the path of the queen, she would 
kick them out of her sight like dogs. 

On Dotterine's tenth birthday her nurse handed 
her over the cradle, and repeated to her her mother's 
dying words; but the child was too young to under- 
stand the value of such a gift, and at first thought little 
about it. 

Two more years slipped by, when one day during the 
king's absence the stepmother found Dotterine sitting 
under a lime tree. She fell as usual into a passion, and 
beat the child so badly that Dotterine went staggering to 
her own room. Her nurse was not there, but suddenly, 
as she stood weeping, her eyes fell upon the golden case 
in which lay the precious basket. She thought it might 
contain something to amuse her, and looked eagerly 
inside, but nothing was there save a handful of wool and 
two empty eggshells. Very much disappointed, she lifted 
the wool, and there lay the goose's wing. * What old 
rubbish,' said the child to herself, and, turning, threw the 
wing out of the open window. 

In a moment a beautiful lady stood beside her. ' Do 
not be afraid,' said the lady, stroking Dotterine's head. 
4 I am your godmother, and have come to pay you a visit. 
Your red eyes tell me that you are unhappy. I know 



104 THE CHILD WHO CAME FROM AN EGG 

that your stepmother is very unkind to you, but be brave 
and patient, and better days will come. She will have 
no power over you when you are grown up, and no one 
else can hurt you either, if only you are careful never to 
part from your basket, or to lose the eggshells that are in 
it. Make a silken case for the little basket, and hide it 
away in your dress night and day and you will be safe 
from your stepmother and anyone that tries to harm you. 
But if you should happen to find yourself in any difficulty, 
and cannot tell what to do, take the goose's wing from 
the basket, and throw it out of the window, and in a 
moment I will come to help you. Now come into the 
garden, that I may talk to you under the lime trees, 
where no one can hear us.' 

They had so much to say to each other, that the sun 
was already setting when the godmother had ended all 
the good advice she wished to give the child, and saw it 
was time for her to be going. ' Hand me the basket,' 
said she, ' for you must have some supper. I cannot let 
you go hungry to bed.' 

Then, bending over the basket, she whispered some 
magic words, and instantly a table covered with fruits 
and cakes stood on the ground before them. When they 
had finished eating, the godmother led the child back, 
and on the way taught her the words she must say to 
the basket when she wanted it to give her something. 

In a few years more, Dotteriue was a grown-up 
young lady, and those who saw her thought that the 
world did not contain so lovely a girl. 

About this time a terrible war broke out, and the king 
and his army were beaten back and back, till at length 
they had to retire into the town, and make ready for a 
siege. It lasted so long that food began to fail, and even 
in the palace there was not enough to eat. 

So one morning Dotterine, who had had neither 
supper nor breakfast, and was feeling very hungry, 
let her wing fly away. She was so weak and miserable, 




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Digitized by Microsoft ® 



THE CHILD WHO CAME FROM AN EGG 107 

that directly her godmother appeared she burst into 
tears, and could not speak for some time. 

1 Do not cry so, dear child,' said the godmother. 'I 
will carry you away from all this, but the others I must 
leave to take their chance.' Then, bidding Dotterine 
follow her, she passed through the gates of the town, and 
through the army outside, and nobody stopped them, or 
seemed to see them. 

The next day the town surrendered, and the king and 
all his courtiers were taken prisoners, but in the confusion 
his son managed to make his escape. The queen had 
already met her death from a spear carelessly thrown. 

As soon as Dotterine and her godmother were clear 
of the enemy, Dotterine took off her own clothes, and put 
on those of a peasant, and in order to disguise her better 
her godmother changed her face completely. ' When 
better times come,' her protectress said cheerfully, ' and 
you want to look like yourself again, you have only to 
whisper the words I have taught you into the basket, 
and say you would like to have your own face once more, 
and it will be all right in a moment. But you will have 
to endure a little longer yet:' Then, warning her once 
more to take care of the basket, the lady bade the girl 
farewell. 

For many days Dotterine wandered from one place to 
another without finding shelter, and though the food 
which she got from the basket prevented her from 
starving, she was glad enough to take service in a 
peasant's house till brighter days dawned. At first the 
work she had to do seemed very difficult, but either she 
was wonderfully quick in learning, or else the basket 
may have secretly helped her. Anyhow at the end of 
three days she could do everything as well as if she had 
cleaned pots and swept rooms all her life. 

One morning Dotterine was busy scouring a wooden 
tub, when a noble lady happened to pass through the 
village. The giiTs bright face as she stood in the front 



108 THE CHILD WHO GAME FE03I AN EGG 

of the door with her tub attracted the lady, and she 
stopped and called the girl to come and speak to 
her. 

4 Would you not like to come and enter my service ? ' 
she asked. 

' Very much,' replied Dotterine, ' if my present mistress 
will allow me.' 

4 Oh, I will settle that,' answered the lady ; and so 
she B did, and the same day they set out for the lady's 
house, Dotterine sitting beside the coachman. 

Six months went by, and then came the joyful news 
that the king's son had collected an army and had 
defeated the usurper who had taken his father's place, 
but at the same moment Dotterine learned that the old 
king had died in captivity. The girl wept bitterly for his 
loss, but in secrecy, as she had told her mistress nothing 
about her past life. 

At the end of a year of mourning, the young king let 
it be known that he intended to marry, and commanded 
all the maidens in the kingdom to come to a feast, so 
that he might choose a wife from among them. For 
weeks all the mothers and all the daughters in the land 
were busy preparing beautiful dresses and tiding new 
ways of putting up their hair, and the three lovely 
daughters of Dotterine's mistress were as much excited 
as the rest. The girl was clever with her ringers, and was 
occupied all day with getting ready their smart clothes, 
but at night when she went to bed she alwaj's dreamed 
that her godmother bent over her and said, ; Dress 
your young ladies for the feast, and when they have 
started follow them yourself. Nobody will be so fine as 
you.' 

When the great day came, Dotterine could hardly 
contain herself, and when she had dressed her young 
mistresses and seen them depart with their mother she 
flung herself on her bed, and burst into tears. Then she 
seemed to hear a voice whisper to her, 'Look in your 



THE CHILD WHO CAME FROM AN EGG 109 

basket, and you will find in it everything that you 
need.' 

Dotterine did not want to be told twice ! Up she 
jumped, seized her basket, and repeated the magic words, 
and behold ! there lay a dress on the bed, shining as a 
star. She put it on with fingers that trembled with joy, 
and, looking in the glass, was struck dumb at her own 
beauty. She went downstairs, and in front of the door 
stood a fine carriage, into which she stepped and was 
driven away like the wind. 

The king's palace was a long way off, yet it seemed 
only a few minutes before Dotterine drew up at the great 
gates. She was just going to alight, when she suddenly 
remembered she had left her basket behind her. What 
was she to do? Go back and fetch it, lest some ill-fortune 
should befall her, or enter the palace and trust to chance 
that nothing evil would happen? But before she could 
decide, a little swallow flew up with the basket in its beak, 
and the girl was happy again. 

The feast was already at its height, and the hall was 
brilliant with youth and beauty, when the door was flung 
wide and Dotterine entered, making all the other maidens 
look pale and dim beside her. Their hopes faded as they 
gazed, but their mothers whispered together, saying, 
4 Surely this is our lost princess ! ' 

The young king did not know her again, but he never 
left her side nor took his eyes from her. And at mid- 
night a strange thing happened. A thick cloud suddenly 
filled the hall, so that for a moment all was dark. Then 
the mist suddenly grew bright, and Dotterine's god- 
mother was seen standing there. 

' This,' she said, turning to the king, ' is the girl whom 
you have always believed to be your sister, and who 
vanished during the siege. She is not your sister at all, 
but the daughter of the king of a neighbouring country, 
who was given to your mother to bring up, to save her 
from the hands of a wizard.' 



110 THE CHILD WHO CAME FROM AN EGG 

Then she vanished, and was never seen again, nor the 
wonder-working basket either ; but now that Dotterine's 
troubles were over she could get on without them, and 
she and the young king lived happily together till the end 
of their days. 

[Ehstnische Marchen.] 



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Ill 



STAN BOZO VAN 



Once upon a time what happened did happen, and if 
it had not happened this story would never have been 
told. 

On the outskirts of a village just where the oxen were 
turned out to pasture, and the pigs roamed about burrow- 
ing with their noses among the roots of the trees, there 
stood a small house. In the house lived a man who had 
a wife, and the wife was sad all clay long. 

'Dear wife, what is wrong with you that you hang 
your head like a drooping rosebud?' asked her husband 
one morning. 4 You have everything you want ; why can- 
not you be merry like other women ? ' 

4 Leave me alone, and do not seek to know the reason,' 
replied she, bursting into tears, and the man thought 
that it was no time to question her, and went away to his 
work. 

He could not, however, forget all about it, and a few 
days after he inquired again the reason of her sadness, 
but only got the same reply. At length he felt he could 
bear it no longer, and tried a third time, and then his 
wife turned and answered him. 

4 Good gracious ! ? cried she, ' why cannot you let 
things be as they are? If I were to tell you, you would 
become just as wretched as myself. If you would only 
believe, it is far better for you to know nothing.' 

But no man yet was ever content with such an 
answer. The more you beg him not to inquire, the 
greater is his curiosity to learn the whole. 



112 STAN BOLOVAN 

4 Well, if you must know/ said the wife at last, ' I will 
tell you. There is no luck in this house — no luck at 
all!' 

' Is not your cow the best milker in all the village? 
Are not your trees as full of fruit as your hives are full 
of bees? Has anyone cornfields like ours? Really you 
talk nonsense when you say things like that ! ? 

4 Yes, all that you say is true, but we have no chil- 
dren.' 

Then Stan understood, and when a man once under- 
stands and has his eyes opened it is no longer well with 
him. From that day the little house in the outskirts 
contained an unhappy man as well as an unhappy 
woman. And at the sight of her husband's misery the 
woman became more wretched than ever. 
And so matters went on for some time. 
Some weeks had passed, and Stan thought he would 
consult a wise man who lived a day's journey from his 
own house. The wise man was sitting before his door 
when he came up, and Stan fell on his knees before him. 
4 Give me children, my lord, give me children.' 

i Take care what you are asking,' replied the wise 
man. ' Will not children be a burden to you ? Are you 
rich enough to feed and clothe them ? ' 

1 Only give them to me, my lord, and I will manage 
somehow ! ' and at a sign from the wise man Stan went 
his way. 

He reached home that evening tired and dusty, but 
with hope in his heart. As he drew near his house a 
sound of voices struck upon his ear, and he looked up 
to see the whole place full of children. Children in the 
garden, children in the yard, children looking out of 
every window — it seemed to the man as if all the children 
in the world must be gathered there. And none was 
bigger than the other, but each was smaller than the 
other, and every one was more noisy and more impudent 
and more daring than the rest, and Stan gazed and grew 



STAN BOLOVAN 



113 



cold with horror as he realised that they all belonged to 
hirn. 

4 Good gracious ! how many there are ! how many ! ' 
he muttered to himself. 

' Oh, but not one too many,' smiled his wife, coming 
up with a crowd more children clinging to her skirts. 




But even she found that it was not so easy to look 
after a hundred children, and when a few da}\s had passed 
and they had eaten up all the food there was in the 
house, they began to cry, u Father! I am hungry — I am 
hungry,' till Stan scratched his head and wondered what 
he was to do next. It was not that he thought there 
were too many children, for his life had seemed more full 



114 STAN BOLOVAN 

of joy since they appeared, but now it came to the point 
he did not know how he was to feed them. The cow had 
ceased to give milk, and it was too early for the fruit 
trees to ripen. 

4 Do you know, old woman ! 7 said he one day to his 
wife, ' I must go out into the world and try to bring back 
food somehow, though I cannot tell where it is to come 
from/ 

To the hungry man any road is long, and then there 
was always the thought that he had to satisfy a hundred 
greedy children as well as himself. 

Stan wandered, and wandered, and wandered, till he 
reached to the end of the world, where that which is, is 
mingled with that which is not, and there he saw, a little 
way off, a sheepfold, with seven sheep in it. In the 
shadow of some trees lay the rest of the flock. 

Stan crept up, hoping that he might manage to decoy 
some of them away quietly, and drive them home for 
food for his family, but he soon found this could not be. 
For at midnight he heard a rushing noise, and through 
the air flew a dragon, who drove apart a ram, a sheep, and 
a lamb, and three fine cattle that were lying down close by. 
And besides these he took the milk of seventy-seven 
sheep, and carried it home to his old mother, that she 
might bathe in it and grow young again. And this 
happened every night. 

The shepherd bewailed himself in vain : the dragon 
only laughed, and Stan saw that this was not the place 
to get food for his family. 

But though he quite understood that it was almost 
hopeless to fight against such a powerful monster, yet 
the thought of the hungry children at home clung to him 
like a burr, and would not be shaken off, and at last he 
said to the shepherd, 4 What will you give me if I rid you 
of the dragon ? ' 

4 One of every three rams, one of every three sheep, 
one of every three lambs,' answered the herd. 



STAN BOLOVAN 115 

'It is a bargain, 1 replied Stan, though at the 
moment he did not know how, supposing he did come off 
the victor, he would ever be able to drive so large a flock 
home. 

However, that matter could be settled later. At 
present night was not far off, and he must consider how 
best to fight with the dragon. 

Just at midnight, a horrible feeling that was new and 
strange to him came over Stan — a feeling that he could 
not put into words even to himself, but which almost 
forced him to give up the battle and take the shortest 
road home again. He half turned ; then he remembered 
the children, and turned back. 

4 You or I,' said Stan to himself, and took up his 
position on the edge of the flock. 

' Stop ! ' he suddenly cried, as the air was filled with 
a rushing noise, and the dragon came dashing past. 

'Dear me!' exclaimed the dragon, looking round. 
4 Who are you, and where do you come from?' 

' I am Stan Bolovan, who eats rocks all night, and in 
the day feeds on the flowers of the mountain ; and if you 
meddle with those sheep I will carve a cross on your 
back.' 

When the dragon heard these words he stood quite 
still in the middle of the road, for he knew he had met 
with his match. 

! But you will have to fight me first,' he said in a 
trembling voice, for when you faced him properly he was 
not brave at all. 

'I fight you?' replied Stan, 'why I could slay } T ou 
with one breath ! ' Then, stooping to pick up a large 
cheese which lay at his feet, he added, ' Go and get a 
stone like this out of the river, so that we may lose no 
time in seeing who is the best man.' 

The dragon did as Stan bade him, and brought back a 
stone out of the brook. 

' Can you get buttermilk out of 3 T our stone ? ' asked Stan. 



116 



STAN BOLOVAN 



The dragon picked up his stone with one hand, 
and squeezed it till it fell into powder, but no butter- 




milk flowed from it. 'Of course I can't! ' he said, half 
angrily. 

' Well, if you can't, I can,' answered Stan, and he 

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STAJST BOLOVAN 117 

pressed the cheese till buttermilk flowed through his 
fingers. 

When the dragon saw that, he thought it was time he 
made the best of his way home again, but Stan stood in 
his path. 

1 We have still some accounts to settle/ said he, 
' about what you have been doing here,' and the poor 
dragon was too frightened to stir, lest Stan should slay 
him at one breath and bury him among the flowers in the 
mountain pastures. 

' Listen to me,' he said at last. ' I see you are a very 
useful person, and my mother has need of a fellow like 
you. Suppose you enter her service for three days, 
which are as long as one of your years, and she will pay 
you each day seven sacks full of ducats.' 

Three times seven sacks full of ducats ! The offer 
was very temptiug, and Stan could not resist it. He did 
not waste words, but nodded to the dragon, and the}^ 
started along the road. 

It was a long, long way, but when they came to the 
end they found the dragon's mother, who was as 
old as time itself, expecting them. Stan saw her eyes 
shining like lamps from afar, and when they entered the 
house they beheld a huge kettle standing on the fire, 
filled with milk. When the old mother found that her 
son had arrived empty-handed she grew very angry, 
and fire and flame darted from her nostrils, but before 
she could speak the dragon turned to Stan. 

' Stay here,' said he, ' and wait for me ; I am going to 
explain things to my mother.' 

Stan was already repenting bitterly that he had ever 
come to such a place, but, since he was there, there was 
nothing for it but to take everything quietly, and not 
show that he was afraid. 

' Listen, mother,' said the dragon as soon as they were 
alone, ' I have brought this man in order to get rid of 
him. ' He is a terrific fellow who eats rocks, and can 



118 STAN BOLOVAN 

press buttermilk out of a stone,' and he told her all that 
had happened the night before. 

4 Oh, just leave him to me ! ' she said. i I have never 
yet let a man slip through my fingers.' So Stan had to 
stay and do the old mother service. 

The next day she told him that he and her son should 
try which was the strongest, and she took down a huge 
club, bound seven times with iron. 

The dragon picked it up as if it had been a feather, 
and, after whirling it round his head, flung it lightly three 
miles away, telling Stan to beat that if he could. 

They walked to the spot where the club lay. Stan 
stooped and felt it ; then a great fear came over him, for 
he knew that he and all his children together would never 
lift that club from the ground. 

1 What are you doing? ' asked the dragon. 

' I was thinking what a beautiful club it was, and 
what a pity it is that it should cause your death.' 

* How do you mean — my death?' asked the dragon. 

' Only that I am afraid that if I throw it you will 
never see another dawn. You don't know how strong 
I am ! ' 

' Oh, never mind that; be quick and throw.' 

4 If you are really in earnest, let us go and feast for 
three days : that will at any rate give you three extra 
days of life.' 

Stan spoke so calmly that this time the dragon began 
to get a little frightened, though he did not quite believe 
that things would be as bad as Stan said. 

They returned to the house, took all the food that 
could be found in the old mother's larder, and carried it 
back to the place where the club was lying. Then Stan 
seated himself on the sack of provisions, and remained 
quietly watching the setting moon. 

4 What are you doing? ' asked the dragon. 

' Waiting till the moon gets out of my way.' 

' What do you mean ? I don't understand.' 

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STAN BOLOVAN 119 

' Don't you see that the moon is exactly in my way ? 
But of course, if you like, I will throw the club into the 
moon. ' 

At these words the dragon grew uncomfortable for the 
second time. He prized the club, which had been left 
him by his grandfather, very highly, and had no desire 
that it should be lost in the moon. 

'I'll tell you what,' he said, after thinking a little. 
' Don't throw the club at all. I will throw it a second 
time, and that will do just as well.' 

' No, certainly not ! ' replied Stan. ' Just wait till the 
moon sets.' 

But the dragon, in dread lest Stan should fulfil his 
threats, tried what bribes could do, and in the end had 
to promise Stan seven sacks of ducats before he was 
suffered to throw back the club himself. 

* Oh, dear me, that is indeed a strong man,' said the 
dragon, turning to his mother. ' Would you believe that 
I have had the greatest difficulty in preventing him from 
throwing the club into the moon ? ' 

Then the old woman grew uncomfortable too ! Only 
to think of it ! It was no joke to throw things into the 
moon ! So no more was heard of the club, and the next 
day they had all something else to think about. 

6 Go and fetch me water ! ' said the mother, when 
the morning broke, and gave them .twelve buffalo skins 
with the order to keep filling them till night. 

They set out at once for the brook, and in the 
twinkling of an eye the dragon had filled the whole 
twelve, carried them into the house, and brought them 
back to Stan. Stan was tired : he could scarcely lift the 
buckets when they were empty, and he shuddered to 
think of what would happen when they were full. But 
he only took an old knife out of his pocket and began to 
scratch up the earth near the brook. 

'What are you doing there? How are you going to 
carry the water into the house ? ' asked the dragon. 



120 STAN BOLOVAN 

4 How? Dear me, that is easy enough! I shall just 
take the brook ! ' 

At these words the dragon's jaw dropped. This was 
the last thing that had ever entered his head, for the 
brook had been as it was since the days of his grand- 
father. 

4 1 '11 tell you what ! ' he said. ' Let me carry your 
skins for you.' 

4 Most certainly not,' answered Stan, going on with 
his digging, and the dragon, in dread lest he should fulfil 
his threat, tried what bribes would do, and in the end 
had again to promise seven sacks of ducats before Stan 
would agree to leave the brook alone and let him carry 
the water into the house. 

On the third day the old mother sent Stan into the 
forest for wood, and, as usual, the dragon went with him. 

Before you could count three he had pulled up more 
trees than Stan could have cut down in a lifetime, and 
had arranged them neatly in rows. When the dragon 
had finished, Stan began to look about him, and, choosing 
the biggest of the trees, he climbed up it, and, breaking off 
a long rope of wild vine, bound the top of the tree to the 
one next it. And so he did to a whole line of trees. 

4 What are you doing there? ' asked the dragon. 

4 You can see for yourself,' answered Stan, going 
quietly on with his work. 

k 'Why are you tying the trees together?' 

4 Not to give myself unnecessary work ; when I pull 
up one, all the others will come up too.' 

' But how will you carry them home? ' 

4 Dear me ! don't you understand that I am going to 
take the whole forest back with me ? ' said Stan, tying 
two other trees as he spoke. 

'I'll tell you what,' cried the dragon, trembling with 
fear at the thought of such a thing ; 4 let me carry the 
wood for you, and you shall have seven times seven sacks 

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STAX BOLOVAN 121 

4 You are a good fellow, and I agree to your proposal/ 
answered Stan, and tho dragon carried the wood. 

Now the three days' service which were to be 
reckoned as a year were over, and the only thing that 
disturbed Stan was, how to get all those ducats back to 
his home ! 

In the evening the dragon and his mother had a long 
talk, but Stan heard every word through a crack in the 
ceiling. 

4 Woe be to us, mother,' said the dragon ; ' this man 
will soon get us into his power. Give him his money, and 
let us be rid of him.' 

But the old mother was fond of money, and did not 
like this. 

'Listen to me,' said she; ' you must murder him this 
very night.' 

'I am afraid/ answered he. 

4 There is nothing to fear,' replied the old mother. 
' When he is asleep take the club, and hit him on the 
head with it. It is easily done.' 

And so it would have been, had not Stan heard all 
about it. And when the dragon and his mother had put 
out their lights, he took the pigs' trough and filled it with 
earth, and placed it in his bed, and covered it with 
clothes. Then he hid himself underneath, and began 
to snore loudly. 

Very soon the dragon stole softly into the room, and 
gave a tremendous blow on the spot where Stan's head 
should have been. Stan groaned loudly from under the 
bed, and the dragon went away as softly as he had come. 
Directly he had closed the door, Stan lifted out the pigs' 
trough, and lay down himself, after making everything 
clean and tidy, but he was wise enough not to shut his 
eyes that night. 

The next morning he came into the room when the 
dragon and his mother were having their breakfast. 

'Good morning, ' said he. 



122 STA2T BOLOVAN 

' Good morning. How did you sleep? ' 

c Ob, very well, but I dreamed that a flea had bitten 
me, and I seem to feel it still.' 

The dragon and his mother looked at each other. 
4 Do you hear that? ' whispered he. 4 He talks of a flea. 
I broke my club on his head.' 

This time the mother grew as frightened as her son. 
There was nothing to be done with a man like this, and 
she made all haste to fill the sacks with ducats, so as to 
get rid of Stan as soon as possible. But on his side Stan 
was trembling like an aspen, as he could not lift even 
one sack from the ground. So he stood still and looked 
at them. 

4 "What are you standing there for? ' asked the dragon. 

4 Oh, I was standing here because it has just occurred 
to me that I should like to sta} 7 in your service for 
another year. I am ashamed that when I get home 
they should see I have brought back so little. I 
know that they will cry out, 4 ' Just look at Stan Bolovan, 
who in one year has grown as weak as a dragon." ' 

Here a shriek of dismay was heard both from the dragon 
and his mother, who declared they would give him seven 
or even seven times seven the number of sacks if he 
would only go away. 

4 Til tell you what ! ' said Stan at last. 4 I see you 
don't want me to stay, and I should be very sorry to 
make myself disagreeable. I will go at once, but only on 
condition that you shall carry the money home yourself, 
so that I may not be put to shame before my friends.' 

The words were hardly out of his mouth before the 
dragon had snatched up the sacks and piled them on his 
back. Then he and Stan set forth. 

The way, though really not far, was yet too long for 
Stan, but at length he heard his children's voices, and 
stopped short. He did not wish the dragon to know 
where he lived, lest some day he should come to take 
back his treasure. TV r as there nothing he could say to 



STAN BOLOVAN 



123 



get rid of the monster? Suddenly an idea came into 
Stan's head, and he turned round. 

' I hardly know what to do,' said he. ' I have a 
hundred children, and I am afraid they may do you 




THE DRAGON ALARMED 



harm, as they are always ready for a fight. However, I 
will do my best to protect you.' 

A hundred children ! That was indeed no joke ! The 
dragon let fall the sacks from terror, and then picked 
them up again. But the children, who had had nothing 



124 STAN BOLOVAN 

to eat since their father had left thern, came rushing 
towards him, waving knives in their right hands and forks 
in their left, and crying, ' Give us dragon's flesh ; we will 
have dragon's flesh/ 

At this dreadful sight the dragon waited no longer : 
he flung down his sacks where he stood and took flight as 
fast as he could, so terrified at the fate that awaited him 
that from that day he has never dared to show his face in 
the world again. 

[Adapted from Rumanische Marchen.] 



Digitized by Microsoft ® 



125 



THE TWO FROGS 

Once upon a time in the country of Japan there lived 
two frogs, one of whom made his home in a ditch near 
the town of Osaka, on the sea coast, while the other 
dwelt in a clear little stream which ran through the city 
of Kioto. At such a great distance apart, they had never 
even heard of each other ; but, funnily enough, the idea 
came into both their heads at once that they should like 
to see a little of the world, and the frog who lived at 
Kioto wanted to visit Osaka, and the frog who lived at 
Osaka wished to go to Kioto, where the great Mikado had 
his palace. 

So one fine morning in the spring they both set out 
along the road that led from Kioto to Osaka, one from 
one end and the other from the other. The journey was 
afore tiring than they expected, for they did not know 
much about travelling, and half way between the two 
towns there arose a mountain which had to be climbed. 
It took them a long time and a great many hops to 
reach the top, but there they were at last, and what was 
the surprise of each to see another frog before him ! 
They looked at each other for a moment without speak- 
ing, and then fell into conversation, explaining the 
cause of their meeting so far from their homes. It was 
delightful to find that they both felt the same wish — to 
learn a little more of their native country — and as there 
was no sort of hurry they stretched themselves out in a 
cool, damp place, and agreed that they would have a good 
rest before they parted to go their ways. 



126 THE TWO FROGS 

1 What a pity we are not bigger/ said the Osaka frog ; 
1 for then we could see both towns from here, and tell if 
it is worth our while going on.' 

1 Oh, that is easily managed,' returned the Kioto frog. 
4 We have only got to stand up on our hind legs, and hold 
on to each other, and then we can each look at the town 
he is travelling to/ 

This idea pleased the Osaka frog so much that he at 
once jumped up and put his front paws on the shoulders 
of his friend, who had risen also. There they both stood, 
stretching themselves as high as they could, and holding 
each other tightly, so that they might not fall down. The 
Kioto frog turned his nose towards Osaka, and the Osaka 
frog turned his nose towards Kioto ; but the foolish things 
forgot that when they stood up their great eyes lay in the 
backs of their heads, and that though their noses might 
point to the places to which they wanted to go their eyes 
beheld the places from which they had come. 

4 Dear me ! ' cried the Osaka frog, 4 Kioto is exactly 
like Osaka. It is certainly not worth such a long 
journey. I shall go home ! ' 

' If I had had any idea that Osaka was only a copy of 
Kioto I should never have travelled all this way,' ex- 
claimed the frog from Kioto, and as he spoke he took his 
hands from his friend's shoulders, and they both fell down 
on the grass. Then they took a polite farewell of each 
other, and set off for home again, and to the end of their 
lives they believed that Osaka and Kioto, which are as 
different to look at as two towns can be, were as like as 
two peas. 

[Japanische Marcheru] 



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127 



THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 

Once upon a time there lived a man who wasted all his 
money, and grew so poor that his only food was a few 
grains of corn, which he scratched like a fowl from out of 
a dust heap. 

One day he was scratching as usual among adust-heap 
in the street, hoping to find something for breakfast, when 
his eye fell upon a small silver coin, called an eighth, 
which he greedily snatched up. < Now I can have a 
proper meal/ he thought, and after drinking some water 
at a well he lay down and slept so long that it was sun- 
rise before he woke again. Then he jumped up and 
returned to the dust-heap. ' For who knows,' he said to 
himself, ' whether I may not have some good luck again.' 

As he was walking down the road, he saw a man 
coming toward him, carrying a cage made of twigs. 
4 Hi ! you fellow ! ' called he, ' what have you got inside 
there?' 

' Gazelles/ replied the man. 

' Bring them here, for I should like to see them.' 

As he spoke, some men who were standing by began 
to laugh, saying to the man with the cage : ' You had 
better take care how you bargain with him, for he has 
nothing at all except what he picks up from a dust-heap, 
and if he can't feed himself, will he be able to feed a 
gazelle?' 

But the man with a cage made answer : ' Since I 
started from my home in the country, fifty people at the 
least have called me to show them my gazelles, and was 



128 THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 

there one among them who cared to buy? It is the 
custom for a trader iu merchandise to be summoned 
hither and thither, and who knows where one may find a 
buyer?' And he took up his cage and went towards the 
scratcher of dust-heaps, and the men went with him. 

6 AVhatdo you ask for your gazelles ? ' said the beggar. 
' Will you let me have one for an eighth? ' 

And the man with a cage took out a gazelle, and 
held it out, saying, ' Take this one, master ! ' 

And the beggar took it and carried it to the dust-heap, 
where he scratched carefully till he found a few grains 
of corn, which he divided with his gazelle. This he did 
night and morning, till five days went by. 

Then, as he slept, the gazelle woke him, saying, 
1 Master.' 

And the man answered, ' How is it that I see a 
wonder?' 

' What wonder?' asked the gazelle. 

'Why, that you, a gazelle, should be able to speak, for, 
from the beginning, my father and mother and all the 
people that are in the world have never told me of a 
talking gazelle.' 

' Never mind that,' said the gazelle, 4 but listen to what 
I say ! First, I took you for my master. Second, you 
gave for me all you had in the world. I cannot run 
away from you, but give me, I pray you, leave to go every 
morning and seek food for myself, and every evening I 
will come back to you. What you find in the dust-heaps 
is not enough for both of us.' 

'Go, then,' answered the master; and the gazelle 
went. 

When the sun had set, the gazelle came back, and the 
poor man was very glad, and they laid down and slept 
side by side. 

In the morning it said to him, ' I am going away to 
feed.' 

And the ma^ljgfc ^Mlo^of'tW 1 h * felt V61 ' y 



THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 129 

lonely without bis gazelle, and set out sooner than usual 
for the dust-heap where he generally found most corn. 
And glad he was when the evening came, and he could 
return home. He lay on the grass chewing tobacco, when 
the gazelle trotted up. 

4 Good evening, my master; how have you fared all 
day? I have been resting in the shade in a place where 
there is sweet grass when 1 am hungry, and fresh water 
when I am thirsty, and a soft breeze to fan me in the 
heat. It is far away in the forest, and no one knows of it 
but me, and to-morrow I shall go again.' 

So for five days the gazelle set off at daybreak for this 
cool spot, but on the fifth day it came to a place where the 
grass was bitter, and it did not like it, and scratched, 
hoping to tear away the bad blades. But, instead, it saw 
something lying in the earth, which turned out to be a 
diamond, very large and bright. 'Oh, ho!' said the 
gazelle to itself, ' perhaps now I can do something for my 
master who bought me with all the money he had ; but 
I must be careful or they will say he has stolen it. I had 
better take it myself to some great rich man, and see 
what it will do for me.' 

Directly the gazelle had come to this conclusion, it 
picked up the diamond in its mouth, and went on and 
on and on through the forest, but found no place where a 
rich man was likely to dwell. For two more days it ran, 
from dawn to dark, till at last early one morning it caught 
sight of a large town, which gave it fresh courage. 

The people were standing about the streets doing their 
marketing, when the gazelle bounded past, the diamond 
flashing as it ran. They called after it, but it took no notice 
till it reached the palace, where the sultan was sitting, 
enjoying the cool air. And the gazelle galloped up to 
him, and laid the diamond at his feet. 

The sultan looked first at the diamond and next at the 
gazelle ; then he ordered his attendants to bring cushions 
and a carpet, that the gazelle might rest itself after its 

9 



130 THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 

long journey. And he likewise ordered milk to be brought, 
and rice, that it might eat and drink and be refreshed. 

And when the gazelle was rested, the sultan said to 
it : ' Give me the news you have come with.' 

And the gazelle answered : 'I am come with this 
diamond, which is a pledge from my master the Sultan 
Darai. He has heard you have a daughter, and sends 
you this small token, and begs you will give her to him 
to wife.' 

And the sultan said : ' I am content. The wife is 
his wife, the family is his family, the slave is his slave. 
Let him come to me empty-handed, I am content.' 

When the sultan had ended, the gazelle rose, and 
said: 'Master, farewell; I go back to our town, and in 
eight days, or it may be in eleven days, we shall arrive as 
your guests.' 

And the sultan answered; ' So let it be.' 

All this time the poor man far away had been 
mourning and weeping for his gazelle, which he thought 
had run away from him for ever. And when it came in 
at the door he rushed to embrace it with such joy that 
he would not allow it a chance to speak. 

6 Be still, master, and don't cry,' said the gazelle at 
last ; ' let us sleep now, and in the morning, when I go, 
follow me.' 

With the first ray of dawn they got up and went 
into the forest, and on the fifth day, as they were resting 
near a stream, the gazelle gave its master a sound beat- 
ing, and then bade him stay where he was till it returned. 
And the gazelle ran off, and about ten o'clock it came 
near the sultan's palace, where the road was all lined 
with soldiers who were there to do honour to Sultan Darai. 
And directly they caught sight of the gazelle in the 
distance one of the soldiers ran on and said, ' Sultan Darai 
is coming : I have seen the gazelle.' 

Then the sultan rose up, and called his whole court to 
follow him, and went out to meet the gazelle, who, bound- 




THE GAZELLE BRINGS THE DIAMOND TO THE 5U1TA1MI 






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Digitized by Microsoft ® 



THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 133 

ing up to him, gave him greeting. The saltan answered 
politely, and inquired where it had left its master, whom 
it had promised to bring back. 

4 Alas ! ' replied the gazelle, ' he is lying in the forest, 
for on our way here we were met by robbers, who, after 
beating and robbing him, took away all his clothes. And 
he is now hiding under a bush, lest a passing stranger 
might see him.' 

The sultan, on hearing what had happened to his 
future son-in-law, turned his horse and rode to the 
palace, and bade a groom to harness the best horse in 
the stable and order a woman slave to bring a bag of 
clothes, such as a man might want, out of the chest; 
and he chose out a tunic and a turban and a sash for the 
waist, and fetched himself a gold-hilted sword, and a 
dagger and a pair of sandals, and a stick of sweet-smell- 
ing wood. 

' Now,' said he to the gazelle, ' take these things 
with the soldiers to- the sultan, that he may be able to 
come.' 

And the gazelle answered : ' Can I take those soldiers 
to go and put my master to shame as he lies there naked? 
I am enough by myself, my lord.' 

1 How will you be enough,' asked the sultan, c to manage 
this horse and all these clothes? ' 

' Oh, that is easily done,' replied the gazelle. ' Fasten 
the horse to my neck and tie the clothes to the back of 
the horse, and be sure they are fixed firmly, as I shall go 
faster than he does.' 

Everything was carried out as the gazelle had ordered, 
and when all was ready it said to the sultan : ' Farewell, 
my lord, I am going.' 

' Farewell, gazelle,' answered the sultan ; ' when shall 
we see you again ? ' 

'To-morrow about five,' replied the gazelle, and, 
giving a tug to the horse's rein, they set off .at a gallop. 

The sultan watched them till they were out of sight : 



1U THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 

then he said to his attendants, ' That gazelle comes 
from gentle hands, from the house of a sultan, and that 
is what makes it so different from other gazelles.' And 
in the eyes of the sultan the gazelle became a person of 
consequence. 

Meanwhile the gazelle ran on till it came to the place 
where its master was seated, and his heart laughed when 
he saw the gazelle. 

And the gazelle said to him, ; Get up, my master, and 
bathe in the stream ! ' and when the man had bathed it 
said again, l Now rub yourself well with earth, and rub 
your teeth well with sand to make them bright and 
shining.' And when this was done it said, ' The sun has 
gone down behind the hills ; it is time for us to go ' : 
so it went and brought the clothes from the back of 
the horse, and the man put them on and was well 
pleased. 

' Master! ' said the gazelle when the man was ready, 
4 be sure that where we are going you keep silence, 
except for giving greetings and asking for news. Leave 
all the talking to me. I have provided you with a wife, 
and have made her presents of clothes and turbans and 
rare and precious things, so it is needless for you to 
speak.' 

6 Very good, I will be silent,' replied the man as he 
mounted the horse. ' You have given all this ; it is you 
who are the master, and I who am the slave, and I will 
obey you in all things/ 

' So they went their way, and they went and w r ent 
till the gazelle saw in the distance the palace of the 
sultan. Then it said, ' Master, that is the house we are 
going to, and you are not a poor man any longer: even 
your name is new.' 

1 What is my name, eh, my father? ' asked the man. 

4 Sultan Darai,' said the gazelle. 

Very soon some soldiers came to meet them, while 
others ran off to tell the sultan of their approach. 



THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 



135 



And the sultan set off at once, and the viziers and the 
emirs, and the judges, and the rich men of the city, all 
followed him. 




j^Git^EULE: ; BRINGS ■ CLOTHLS TO-M 15 -MASTER^ 



Directly the gazelle saw them coming, it said to its 
master: ' Your father-in-law is coming to meet you ; that 
is he in the middle, wearing a mantle of sky-blue. Get 
off your horse and go to greet him.' 



136 THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 

And Sultan Darai leapt from his horse, and so did the 
other sultan, and they gave their hands to one another, 
and kissed each other, and went together into the 
palace. 

The next morning the gazelle went to the rooms of 
the sultan, and said to him : i My lord, we want you to 
marry us our wife, for the soul of Sultan Darai is 
eager.' 

4 The wife is ready, so call the priest/ answered he, 
and when the ceremony was over a cannon was fired 
and music was played, and within the palace there was 
feasting. 

4 Master,' said the gazelle the following morning, ( I 
am setting out on a journey, and I shall not be back for 
seven days, and perhaps not then. But be careful not to 
leave the house till I come.' 

And the master answered, 1 1 will not leave the 
house.' 

And it went to the sultan of the country and said to 
him : l ~My lord, Sultan Darai has sent me to his town to 
get the house in order. It will take me seven days, and 
if I am not back in seven days he will not leave the 
palace till I return.' 

' Very good,' said the sultan. 

And it went and it went through the forest and 
wilderness, till it arrived at a town full of fine houses. 
At the end of the chief road was a great house, beautiful 
exceedingly, built of sapphire and turquoise and marbles. 
' That,' thought the gazelle, 6 is the house for my master, 
and I will call up my courage and go and look at the 
people who are in it, if any people there are. For in 
this town have I as yet seen no people. If I die, I die, 
and if I live, I live. Here can I think of no plan, so if 
anything is to kill me, it will kill me.' 

Then it knocked twice at the door, and cried ' Open,' 
but no one answered. And it cried again, and a voice 
replied : 



THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 137 

' Who are you that are crying " Open "? ' 

And the gazelle said, ; It is I, great mistress, your 
grandchild.' 

4 If you are my grandchild,' returned the voice, ' go 
back whence you came. Don't come and die here, and 
bring me to my death as well.' 

* Open, mistress, I entreat, I have something to say 
to you.' 

' Grandchild,' replied she, ' I fear to put your life in 
danger, and my own too.' 

; Oh, mistress, my life will not be lost, nor yours 
either; open, I pray you.' So she opened the door. 

' What is the news where } r ou come from, my grand- 
son ? ' asked she. 

' Great lady, where I come from it is well, and with 
you it is well.' 

'Ah, my son, here it is not well at all. If you seek a 
way to die, or if you have not yet seen death, then is 
to-day the day for you to know what dying is.' 

1 If I am to know it, I shall know it,' replied the 
gazelle ; c but tell me, who is the lord of this house ? ' 

And she said, 'Ah, father! in this house is much 
wealth, and much people, and much food, and many 
horses. And the lord of it all is an exceeding great and 
wonderful snake.' 

4 Oh ! ' cried the gazelle when he heard this ; ' tell me 
how I can get at the snake to kill him ? ' 

' My son,' returned the old woman, ' do not say words 
like these ; you risk both our lives. He has put me here 
all by myself, and I have to cook his food. When the 
great snake is coming there springs up a wind, and blows 
the dust about, and this goes on till the great snake 
glides into the courtyard and calls for his dinner, which 
must always be ready for him in those big pots. He eats 
till he has had enough, and then drinks a whole tankful 
of water. After that he goes away. Every second day 
he comes, when the sun is over the house. And he has 



138 THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 

seven heads. How then can you be a match for him, my 
son ? ' 

' Mind your own business, mother/ answered the 
gazelle, ' and don't miud other people's ! Has this snake 
a sword ? ' 

4 He has a sword, and a sharp one too. It cuts like a 
flash of lightning.' 

' Give it to me, mother! ' said the gazelle, and she un 
hooked the sword from the wall, as she was bidden 
'You must be quick,' she said, ' for he may be here at 
any moment. Hark ! is not that the wind rising? He has 
come ! ' 

They were silent, but the old woman peeped from 
behind a curtain, and saw the snake busy at the pots 
which she had placed ready for him in the courtyard. 
And after he had done eating and drinkiug he came to 
the door. 

' You old body ! ' he cried ; ' what smell is that I smell 
inside that is not the smell of every day? ' 
» ' Oh, master ! ' answered she, ' I am alone, as I always 
am! But to-day, after many days, I have sprinkled 
fresh scent all over me, and it is that which you smell. 
What else could it be, master?' 

All this time the gazelle had been standing close to 
the door, holding the sword in one of its front paws. 
And as the snake put one of his heads through the hole 
that he had made so as to get in and out comfortably, it 
cut it off so clean that the snake really did not feel 
it. The second blow was not quite so straight, for the 
snake said to himself, ' Who is that who is trying to 
scratch me ? ' and stretched out his third head to see ; 
but no sooner was the neck through the hole than the 
head went rolling to join the rest. 

When six of his heads were gone the snake lashed 
his tail with such fury that the gazelle and the old 
woman could not see each other for the dust he made. 
And the gazelle said to him, ' You have climbed all sorts of 



THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 



139 



trees, but this you can't climb,' and as the seventh head 
came darting through it went rolling to join the rest. 







*3he Qaxelle cubs 
" the Sev Rent's 
Heads 



Then the sword fell rattling on the ground, for the 
gazelle had fainted. 



140 THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 

The old woman shrieked with delight when she saw 
her enemy was dead, and ran to bring water to the 
gazelle, and fanned it, and put it where the wind could 
blow on it, till it grew better and gave a sneeze. And 
the heart of the old woman was glad, and she gave it 
more water, till by-and-by the gazelle got up. 

1 Show me this house,' it said, 4 from beginning to end, 
from top to bottom, from inside to out.' 

So she arose and showed the gazelle rooms full of 
gold and precious things, and other rooms full of slaves. 
4 They are all yours, goods and slaves/ said she. 

But the gazelle answered, 'You must keep them safe 
till I call my master.' 

For two days it lay and rested in the house, and fed 
on milk and rice, and on the third day it bade the old 
woman farewell and started back to its master. 

And when he heard that the gazelle was at the door 
he felt like a man who has found the time when all 
prayers are granted, and he rose and kissed it, saying: 
' My father, yon have been a long time ; you have left 
sorrow with me. I cannot eat, I cannot drink, I cannot 
laugh ; my heart felt no smile at anything, because of 
thinking of you.' 

And the gazelle answered : 'I am well, and where I 
come from it is well, and I wish that after four days you 
would take your wife and go home.' 

And he said : ' It is for you to speak. Where you go, 
I will follow.' 

4 Then I shall go to your father-in-law and tell him 
this news.' 

* Go, my son.' 

So the gazelle went to the father-in-law and said : ' I 
am sent by my master to come and tell you that after 
four days he will go away with his wife to his own 
home.' 

' Must he really go so quickly ? We have not yet sat 
much together, I and Sultan Darai, nor have we yet 



THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 141 

talked much together, nor have we yet ridden out together, 
nor have we eaten together; yet it is fourteen days since 
he came.' 

But the gazelle replied : ' My lord, you cannot help 
it, for he wishes to go home, and nothing will stop him.' 

c Very good,' said the sultan, and he called all the 
people who were in the town, and commanded that the 
day his daughter left the palace ladies and guards were 
to attend her on her way. 

And at the end of four days a great company of ladies 
and slaves and horses went forth to escort the wife of 
Sultan Darai to her new home. They rode all day, and 
when the sun sank behind the hills they rested, and ate 
of the food the gazelle gave them, and lay down to sleep. 
And they journeyed on for many days, and they all, 
nobles and slaves, loved the gazelle with a great love — 
more than they loved the Sultan Darai. 

At last one day signs of houses appeared, far, far off. 
And those who saw cried out, 4 Gazelle ! ' 

And it answered, ' Ah, my mistresses, that is the 
house of Sultan Darai.' 

At this news the women rejoiced much, and the 
slaves rejoiced much, and in the space of two hours they 
came to the gates, and the gazelle bade them all stay 
behind, and it went on to the house with Sultan Darai. 

When the old woman saw them coming through the 
courtyard she jumped and shouted for joy, and as the 
gazelle drew near she seized it in her arms, and kissed it. 
The gazelle did not like this, and said to her: ' Old 
woman, leave me alone; the one to be carried is my 
master, and the one to be kissed is my master.' 

And she answered, ' Forgive me, my son. I did not 
know this was our master/ and she threw open all the 
doors so that the master might see everything that the 
rooms and storehouses contained. Sultan Darai looked 
about him, and at length he said : 

' Unfasten those horses that are tied up, and let loose 



142 THE STOBY OF A GAZELLE 

those people that are bound. And let some sweep, and 
some spread the beds, and some cook, and some draw 
water, and some come out and receive the mistress.' 

And when the sultana and her ladies and her slaves 
entered the house, and saw the rich stuffs it was hung 
with, and the beautiful rice that was prepared for them 
to eat, they cried : ' Ah, you gazelle, we have seen great 
houses, we have seen people, we have heard of things. 
But this house, and you, such as you are, we have never 
seen or heard of. ? 

After a few days, the ladies said they wished to go 
home again. The gazelle begged them hard to stay, but 
finding they would not, it brought many gifts, and gave 
some to the ladies and some to their slaves. And they 
all thought the gazelle greater a thousand times than its 
master, Sultan Darai. 

The gazelle and its master remained in the house 
many weeks, and one day it said to the old woman, ' I 
came with my master to this place, and I have done 
many things for my master, good things, and till to-day 
he has never asked me : " Well, my gazelle, how did you 
get this house ? "Who is the owner of it? And this town, 
were there no people in it?" All good things I have 
done for the master, and he has not one day done me any 
good thing. But people say, " If 'you want to do any one 
good, don't do him good only, do him evil also, and there 
will be peace between you." So, mother, I have done : I 
want to see the favours I have done to my master, that he 
may do me the like.' 

' Good,' replied the old woman, and they went to 
bed. 

In the morning, when light came, the gazelle was 
sick in its stomach and feverish, and its legs ached. And 
it said ' Mother ! ' 

And she answered, * Here, my son? ' 

And it said, ' Go and tell my master upstairs the 
gazelle is very i^ ;W by Mjcmsom 



THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 113 

4 Very good, my son •, and if he should ask me what is 
the matter, what am I to say ? ' 

' Tell him all my body aches badly ; I have no single 
part without pain/ 

The old woman went upstairs, and she found the 
mistress and master sitting on a couch of marble spread 
with soft cushions, and they asked her, 'Well, old woman, 
what do you want? ' 

' To tell the master the gazelle is ill, 5 said she. 

' What is the matter ? ' asked the wife. 

' All its body pains; there is no part without pain.' 

'Well, what can I do? Make some gruel of red 
millet, and give to it. 5 

But his wife stared and said : ' Oh, master, do you tell 
her to make the gazelle gruel out of red millet, which a 
horse would not eat? Eh, master, that is not well.' 

But he answered, 'Oh, you are mad! Rice is only 
kept for people.' 

' Eh, master, this is not like a gazelle. It is the 
apple of your eye. If sand got into that, it would trouble 
you. 5 

' My wife, your tongue is long,' and he left the room. 

The old woman saw she had spoken vainly, and went 
back weeping to the gazelle. And when the gazelle saw 
her it said, ' Mother, what is it, and why do you cry? If 
it be good, give me the answer ; aud if it be bad, give me 
the answer. 5 

But still the old woman would not speak, and the 
gazelle prayed her to let it know the words of the master. 
At last she said: ' I went upstairs and found the mistress 
and the master sitting on a couch, and he asked me what 
I wanted, and I told him that you, his slave, were ill. 
And his wife asked what was the matter, and I told her 
that there was not a part of your body without pain. 
And the master told me to take some red millet and 
make you gruel, but the mistress said, " Eh, master, the 
gazelle is the apple of your eye; you have no child, this 



144 THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 

gazelle is like your child ; so this gazelle is Dot one to 
be done evil to. This is a gazelle in form, but not a 
gazelle in heart ; he is in all thiugs better than a gentle- 
man, be he who he may." 

' And he answered her, " Silly chatterer, your words are 
many. I know its price ; I bought it for an eighth. What 
loss will it be to me? " ' 

The gazelle kept silence for a few moments. Then it 
said, ' The elders said, ;i One that does good like a mother," 
and I have done him good, and I have got this that the 
elders said. But go up again to the master, and tell him 
the gazelle is very ill, and it has not drunk the gruel of 
red millet.' 

So the old woman returned, and found the master 
and the mistress drinking coffee. And when he heard 
what the gazelle had said, he cried : ' Hold your peace, 
old woman, and stay your feet and close your eyes, and 
stop your ears with wax ; and if the gazelle bids you come 
to me, say your legs are bent, and } T on cannot walk ; 
and if it begs you to listen, say your ears are stopped 
with wax ; and if it wishes to talk, reply that your tongue 
has got a hook in it.' 

The heart of the old woman wept as she heard such 
words, because she saw that when the gazelle first came 
to that town it was ready to sell its life to buy wealth for 
its master. Then it happened to get both life aud wealth, 
but now it had no honour with its master. 

And tears sprung likewise to the eyes of the sultan's 
wife, and she said, ' I am sorry for you, my husband, that 
you should deal so wickedly with that gazelle ' ; but he 
only answered, ' Old woman, pay no heed to the talk of 
the mistress: tell it to perish out of the Ava} 7 . I cannot 
sleep, I cannot eat, I cannot drink, for the worry of that 
gazelle. Shall a creature that I bought for an eighth 
trouble me from morning till night? Not so, old 
woman ! ' 

The old woman went downstairs, and there lay the 



THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 145 

gazelle, blood flowing from its nostrils. And she took 
it in her arms and said, ' My son, the good you did is 
lost; there remains only patience.' 

And it said, ' Mother, I shall die, for my soul is full 
of anger and bitterness. My face is ashamed, that I 
should have done good to my master, and that he 
should repay me with evil.' It paused for a moment, 
and then went on, ' Mother, of the goods that are in this 
house, what do I eat? I might have every day half a 
basinful, and would my master be any the poorer? 
But did not the elders say, u He that does good like a 
mother!"' 

And it said, ' Go and tell my master that the gazelle 
is nearer death than life.' 

So she went, and spoke as the gazelle had bidden her ; 
but he answered, ' I have told you to trouble me no more.' 

But his wife's heart was sore, and she said to him: 
'Ah, master, what has the gazelle done to you? How has 
he failed you? The things you do to him are not good, and 
you will draw on yourself the hatred of the people. For 
this gazelle is loved by all, by small and great, by women 
and men. Ah, ray husband! I thought you had great 
wisdom, and you have not even a little ! ; 

But he answered, ' You are mad, my wife.' 

The old woman stayed no longer, and went back to 
the gazelle, followed secretly by the mistress, who called 
a maidservant and bade her take some milk and rice and 
cook it for the gazelle. 

' Take also this cloth,' she said, ' to cover it with, and 
this pillow for its head. And if the gazelle wants more, 
let it ask me, and not its master. And if it will, I will 
send it in a litter to my father, and he will nurse it till it 
is well.' 

And the maidservant did as her mistress bade her, 
and said what her mistress had told her to say, but the 
gazelle made no answer, but turned over on its side and 
died quietly. 

10 



146 THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 

When the news spread abroad, there was much 
weeping among the people, and Sultan Darai arose in 
wrath, and cried, ' You weep for that gazelle as if you 
wept for me ! And, after all, what is it but a gazelle, that 
I bought for an eighth ? ' 

But his wife answered, ' Master, vre looked upon that 
gazelle as we looked upon you. It was the gazelle who 
came to ask me of my father, it was the gazelle who 
brought me from my father, and I was given in charge to 
the gazelle by my father. ' 

And when the people heard her they lifted up their 
voices and spoke : 

' We never saw 3^011, we saw the gazelle. It was the 
gazelle who met with trouble here, it was the gazelle 
who met with rest here. So, then, when such an one 
departs from this world we weep for ourselves, we do 
not weep for the gazelle.' 

And they said furthermore : 

' The gazelle did you much good, and if anyone says 
he could have done more for you he is a liar ! There- 
fore, to us who have done you no good, what treatment 
will 3 t ou give? The gazelle has died from bitterness of 
soul, and 3 T ou ordered your slaves to throw it into the 
well. Ah ! leave us alone that we may weep.' 

But Sultan Darai would not heed their words, and 
the dead gazelle was thrown into the w r ell. 

When the mistress heard of it, she sent three slaves, 
mounted on donke3 T s, with a letter to her father the 
sultan, and w r hen the sultan had read the letter he 
bowed his head and wept, like a man who had lost his 
mother. And he commanded horses to be saddled, and 
called the governor and the judges and all the rich men, 
and said : 

' Come now with me ; let us go and bury it.' 

Night and da3 T the3 T travelled, till the sultan came to 
the well where the gazelle had been thrown. And it was a 
large w r ell, built round a rock, with room for many people ; 



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THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 147 

and the sultan entered, and the judges and the rich men 
followed him. And when he saw the gazelle lying there 
he wept afresh, and took it in his arms and carried it 
away. 

When the three slaves went and told their mistress 
what the sultan had done, and how all the people were 
weeping, she answered : 

1 1 too have eaten no food, neither have I drunk 
water, since the day the gazelle died. I have not spoken, 
and I have not laughed.' 

The sultan took the gazelle and buried it, and ordered 
the people to wear mourning for it, so there was great 
mourning throughout the city. 

Now after the days of mourning were at an end, the 
wife was sleeping at her husband's side, and in her sleep 
she dreamed that she was once more in her father's house, 
and when she woke up it was no dream. 

And the man dreamed that he was on the dust-heap, 
scratching. And when he woke, behold ! that also was no 
dream, but the truth. 

[Swahili Tales.] 



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148 



HOW A FISH SWAM IN THE AIR AND A 
HARE IN THE WATER 

Once upon a time an old man and his wife lived together- 
in a little village. They might have been happy if only 
the old woman had had the sense to hold her tongue at 
proper times. But anything which might happen in- 
doors, or any bit of news which her husband might bring . 
in when he had been anywhere, had to be told at once 
to the whole village, and these tales were repeated and 
altered till it often happened that much mischief was 
made, and the old man's back paid for it. 

Oue day, he drove to the forest. When he reached 
the edge of it he got out of his cart and walked beside it. 
Suddenly he stepped on such a soft spot that his foot 
sank in the earth. 

' What can this be? ' thought he. ' I'll dig a bit and 
see.' 

So he dug and dug, and at last he came on a little pot 
full of gold and silver. 

' Oh, what luck! Now, if only I knew how I could 
take this treasure home with me — but I can never hope 
to hide it from my wife, and once she knows of it she'll 
tell all the world, and then I shall get into trouble.' 

He sat down and thought over the matter a long 
time, and at last he made a plan. He covered up the pot 
again with earth and twigs, and drove on into the town, 
where he bought a live pike and a live hare in the 
market. 

Then he drove back to the forest and hung the pike 



HOW A FISH SWAM IJSf THE AIR 149 

up at the very top of a tree, and tied up the hare in a 
fishing net and fastened it on the edge of a little stream, 
not troubling himself to think how unpleasant such a wet 
spot was likely to be to the hare. 

Then he got into his cart and trotted merrily home. 

4 Wife! ' cried he, the moment he got indoors. ' You 
can't think what a piece of good luck has come our way.' 

* What, what, dear husband? Do tell me all about it 
at once. 7 

4 No, no, you'll just go off and tell everyone/ 

4 No, indeed ! How can you think such things ! For 
shame ! If you like I will swear never to ' 

4 Oh, well ! if you are really in earnest then, listen.' 

And he whispered in her ear : ' I've found a pot full 
of gold and silver in the forest ! Hush ! ' 

4 And why didn't you bring it back? ' 

' Because we'll drive there together and bring it care- 
fully back between us.' 

So the man and his wife drove to the forest. 

As they were driving along the man said; 

4 What strange things one hears, wife ! I was told 
only the other day that fish will now live and thrive in 
the tree tops and that some wild animals spend their 
time in the water. Well ! well ! times are certainly 
changed.' 

4 Why, you must be crazy, husband ! Dear, dear, 
what nonsense people do talk sometimes.' 

4 Nonsense, indeed ! Why, just look. Bless my soul, 
if there isn't a fish, a real pike I do believe, up in that 
tree.' 

4 Gracious ! ' cried his wife. 4 How did a pike get there ? 
It is a pike — you needn't attempt to say it's not. Can 
people have said true ' 

But the man only shook his head and shrugged his 
shoulders and opened his mouth and gaped as if he really 
could not believe his own eyes. 

' What are you standing staring at there, stupid? ' said 



150 HOW A FISH SWAM IN THE AIR 

his wife. c Climb up the tree quick and catch the pike, and 
we'll cook it for dinner.' 

The man climbed up the tree and brought down the 
pike, and they drove on. 

When they got near the stream he drew up. 

c What are yon staring at again ? ' asked his wife 
impatiently. i Drive on, can't you?' 

4 Why, I seem to see something moving in that net I 
set. I must just go and see what it is.' 

He ran to it, and when he had looked in it he called 
to his wife : c Just look ! Here is actually a four-footed 
creature caught in the net. I do believe it's a hare.' 

4 Good heavens ! ' cried his wife. ' How did the hare 
get into your net? It is a hare, so you needn't say it 
isn't. After all, people must have said the truth ' 

But her husband only shook his head and shrugged 
his shoulders as if he could not believe his own eyes. 

c Now what are you standing there for, stupid?' cried 
his wife. ' Take up the hare. A nice fat hare is a dinner 
for a feast day.' 

The old man caught up the hare, and they drove on 
to the place where the treasure was buried. They swept 
the twigs away, dug up the earth, took out the pot, and 
drove home again with it. 

And now the old couple had plenty of money and 
were cheery and comfortable. But the wife was very 
foolish. Every day she asked a lot of people to dinner 
and feasted them, till her husband grew quite impatient. 
He tried to reason with her, but she would not listen. 

4 You've got no right to lecture me ! ' she said. c We 
found the treasure together, and together we will spend it.' 

Her husband took patience, but at length he said to 
her : c You may do as you please, but I sha'n't give you 
another penny.' 

The old woman was very angry. ' Oh, what a good- 
for-nothing fellow to want to spend all the money himself I 
But just wait a bit. and see what I shall do.' 



HOW A FISH SWAM IJST THE AIR 151 

Off she went to the governor to complain of her hus- 
band. 

4 Oh, my lord, protect me from my husband! Ever 
since he found the treasure there is no bearing him. He 
only eats and drinks, and won't work, and he keeps all 
the money to himself.' 

The governor took pity on the woman, and 
ordered his chief secretary to look into the matter. 

The secretary called the elders of the village together, 
and went with them to the man's house. 

' The governor,' said he, ' desires you to give all that 
treasure you found into my care.' 

The man shrugged his shoulders and said : ' What 
treasure? I know nothing about a treasure. ' 

4 How ? You know nothing ? Why your wife has 
complained of you. Don't attempt to tell lies. If you 
don't hand over all the money at once you will be 
tried for daring to raise treasure without giving due 
notice to the governor about it.' 

4 Pardon me, your excellency, but what sort of treasure 
was it supposed to have been? My wife must have 
dreamt of it, and you gentlemen have listened to her 
nonsense.' 

4 Nonsense, indeed,' broke in his wife. ' A kettle full 
of gold and silver, do you call that nonsense ? 7 

4 You are not in your right mind, dear wife. Sir, I 
beg your pardon. Ask her how it all happened, and 
if she convinces you I'll pay for it with my life.' 

4 This is how it all happened, Mr. Secretary,' cried the 
wife. 4 We were driving through the forest, and we saw a 
pike up in the top of a tree ' 

4 What, a pike? ' shouted the secretary. 4 Do you think 
you may joke with me, pray ? ' 

' Indeed, I'm not joking, Mr. Secretary ! I'm speaking 
the bare truth.' 

i Now you see, gentlemen,' said the husband, * how 
far you can trust her, when she chatters like this.' 



152 HOW A FISH SWAM IN THE AIR 

1 Chatter, indeed ? I ! ! Perhaps you have forgotten, 
too, how we found a live hare in the river? ' 

Everyone roared with laughter; even the secretary 
smiled and stroked his beard, and the man said : 

' Come, come, wife, everyone is laughing at you. 
You see for yourself, gentlemen, how far you can believe 
her.' 

' Yes, indeed/ said the village elders, < it is certainly 
the first time we have heard that hares thrive in the 
water or fish among the tree tops.' 

The secretary could make nothing of it all, and drove 
back to the town. The old woman was so laughed at 
that she had to hold her tongue and obey her husband 
ever after, and the man bought wares with part of the 
treasure and moved into the town, where he opened a 
shop, and prospered, and spent the rest of his days in 
peace. 



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153 



TWO IN A SACK 

What a life that poor man led with his wife, to be sure! 
Not a day passed without her scolding him and calling 
him names, and indeed sometimes she would take the 
broom from behind the stove and beat him with it. He 
had no peace or comfort at all, and really hardly knew 
how to bear it. 

One day, when his wife had been particularly unkind 
and had beaten him black and blue, he strolled slowly 
into the fields, and as he could not endure to be idle he 
spread out his nets. 

What kind of bird do you think he caught in his 
net? He caught a crane, and the crane said, L Let me go 
free, and I'll show myself grateful.' 

The man answered, ' No, my dear fellow. I shall 
take you home, and then perhaps my wife won't scold me 
so much.' 

Said the crane : ' Yon had better come with me to my 
house,' and so they went to the crane's house. 

When they got there, what do you think the crane 
took from the wall? He took down a sack, and he 
said : 

' Two out of a sack ! ' 

Instantly two pretty lads sprang out of the sack. 
They brought in oak tables, which they spread with silken 
covers, and placed all sorts of delicious dishes and 
refreshing drinks on them. The man had never seen 
anything so beautiful in his life, and he was delighted. 



154 



TWO IN A SACK 



Then the crane said to him, ' Now take this sack to 
your wife.' 

The man thanked him warmly, took his sack, and set 
out. 

His home was a good long way off, and as it was 
growing dark, and he was feeling tired, he stopped to 
rest at his cousin's house by the way. 

The cousin had three daughters, who laid out a 




tempting supper, but the man would eat nothing, and 
said to his cousin, ' Your supper is bad.' 

' Oh, make the best of it,' said she, but the man only 
said : ' Clear away ! ' and taking out his sack he cried, as 
the crane had taught him : 

' Two out of a sack ! ' 

And out came the two pretty boys, who quickly 
brought in the oak tables, spread the silkeu covers, and 



TWO IN A SACK 155 

laid out all sorts of delicious dishes and refreshing 
drinks. 

Never in their lives had the cousin and her daughters 
seen such a supper, and they were delighted and 
astonished at it. But the cousin quietly made up her 
mind to steal the sack, so she called to her daughters : 

i Go quickly and heat the bathroom : I am sure our dear 
guest would like to have a bath before he goes to bed.'* 

When the man was safe in the bathroom she told her 
daughters to make a sack exactly like his, as quickly as 
possible. Then she -changed the two sacks, and hid the 
man's sack away. 

The man enjoyed his bath, slept soundly, and set off 
early next morning, taking what he believed to be the 
sack the crane had given him. 

All the way home he felt in such good spirits that he 
sang and whistled as he walked through the wood, and 
never noticed how the birds were twittering and laughing 
at him. 

As soon as he saw his house he began to shout from 
a distance, ' Hallo ! old woman ! Come out and meet 



me 



i » 



His wife screamed back : ' You come here, and I'll 
give you a good thrashing with the poker ! ' 

The man walked into the house, hung his sack on a 
nail, and said, as the crane had taught him : 

6 Two out of the sack ! ' 

But not a soul came out of the sack. 

Then he said again, exactly as the crane had taught 
him: 

4 Two out of the sack ! ' 

His wife, hearing him chattering goodness knows 
what, took up her wet broom and swept the ground all 
about him. 

The man took flight and rushed off into the field, and 
there he found the crane marching proudly about, and to 
him he told his tale. 



156 TWO IN A SACK 

' Come back to my house, 7 said the crane, and so they 
went to the crane's house, and as soon as they got there, 
what did the crane take clown from the wall? Why, he 
took down a sack, and he said : 

' Two out of the sack ! ' 

And instantly two pretty lads sprang out of the sack, 
brought in oak tables, on which they laid silken covers, 
and spread all sorts of delicious dishes and refreshing 
drinks on them. 

'Take this sack,' said the crane. 

The man thanked him heartily, took the sack, and 
went. He had a long way to walk, and as he presently got 
hungry, he said to the sack, as the crane had taught him : 

' Two out of the sack ! ' 

And instantly two rough men with thick sticks crept 
out of the bag and began to beat him well, crying as they 
did so : 

' Don't boast to your cousins of what you have got, 

One — two — 
Or you'll find you will catch it uncommonly hot, 
One — two — ' 

And they beat on till the man panted out : 

' Two into the sack.' 

The words were hardly out of his mouth, when the 
two crept back into the sack. 

Then the man shouldered the sack, and went off 
straight to his cousin's house. He hung the sack up on a 
nail, and said : ' Please have the bathroom heated, cousin.' 

The cousin heated the bathroom, and the man went 
into it, but he neither washed nor rubbed himself, he 
just sat there and waited. 

Mean while his cousin felt hungry, so she called her 
daughters, and all four sat down to table. Then the 
mother said : 

4 Two out of the sack.' 

Instantly two rough men crept out of the sack, and 
began to beat the cousin as they cried : 



TWO IN A SACK 157 

'Greedy pack ! Thievish pack ! 

One — two — 
Give the peasant back his sack ! 
One — two — ' 

And they went on beating till the woman called to 
her eldest daughter : * Go and fetch your cousin from the 
bathroom. Tell him these two ruffians are beating me 
black and blue.' 

'I've not finished rubbing myself yet,' said the 
peasant. 

And the two ruffians kept on beating as they sang: 

' Greedy pack ! Thievish pack! 
One — two — 
Give the peasant back his sack ! 
One — two — ' 

Then the womau sent her second daughter and said : 
' Quick, quick, get him to come to me.' 

' I'm just washing my head,' said the man. 

Then she sent the youngest girl, and he said : ' I've 
not done drying myself.' 

At last the woman could hold out no longer, and 
sent him the sack she had stolen. 

Now he had quite finished his bath, and as he left the 
bathroom he cried : 

'Two into the sack.' 

And the two crept back at once into the sack. 

Then the man took both sacks, the good and the bad 
one, and went away home. 

When he was near the house he shouted : ' Hallo, old 
woman, come and meet me ! ' 

His wife only screamed out : 

4 You broomstick, come here! Your back shall pay 
for this.' 

The man went into the cottage, hung his sack on a 
nail, and said, as the crane had taught him : 

'Two out of the sack.' 

Instantly two pretty lads sprang out of the sack, 



158 



TWO IN A SACK 



brought in oak tables, laid silken covers on them, and 
spread them with all sorts of delicious dishes and 
refreshing drinks. 

The woman ate and drank, and praised her husband. 

4 Well, now, old man, I won't beat you any more,' 
said she. 

When they had done eating the man carried off the 




good sack, and put it away in his store-room, but hung 
the bad sack up on the nail. Then he lounged up and 
down in the yard. 

Meantime his wife became thirsty. She looked with 
longing eyes at the sack, and at last she said, as her 
husband had done : 

' Tw0 out of &^fh%'d by Microsoft® 



TWO IN A SACK 159 

And at once the two rogues with their big sticks crept 
out of the sack, and began to belabour her as they sang : 

' Would you beat your husband true ? 
Don't cry so ! 
Now we'll beat you black and blue ! 
Oh! Oh!' 

The woman screamed out: l Old man, old man! 
Come here, quick ! Here are two ruffians pommelling 
me fit to break my bones.' 

Her husband only strolled up and down and laughed, 
as he said : ' Yes, they'll beat you well, old lady/ 

And the two thumped away and sang again : 

' Blows will hurt, remember, crone, 

We mean you well, we mean you well ; 
In future leave the stick aloue, 

For how it hurts, you now can tell, 
One — two — ' 

At last her husband took pity on her, and cried : 

' Two into the sack.' 

He had hardly said the words before they were back 
in the sack again. 

From this time the man and his wife lived so happily 
together that it was a pleasure to see them, and so the 
story has an end. 

[From Russiche Marc hen.] 



Digitized by Microsoft ® 



160 



THE ENVIOUS NEIGHBOUR 



Long, long ago an old couple lived in a village, and, as 
they had no children to love and care for, they gave all 
their affection to a little dog. He was a pretty little 
creature, and instead of growing spoilt and disagreeable 
at not getting everything he wanted, as even children 
will do sometimes, the dog was grateful to them for their 
kindness, and never left their side, whether they were in 
the house or out of it. 

One day the old man was working in his garden, 
with his dog, as usual, close by. The morning was hot, 
and at last he put down his spade and wiped his wet 
forehead, noticing, as he did so, that the animal was 
snuffling and scratching at a spot a little way off. There 
was nothing very strange in this, as all dogs are fond of 
scratching, and he went on quietly with his digging, 
when the dog ran up to his master, barking loudly, and 
back again to the place where he had been scratching. 
This he did several times, till the old man wondered 
what could be the matter, and, picking up the spade, 
followed where the dog led him. The dog was so 
delighted at his success that he jumped round, barking 
loudly, till the noise brought the old woman out of the 
house. 

Curious to know if the dog had really found anything, 
the husband began to dig, and very soon the spade struck 
against something. He stooped down and pulled out a 
large box, filled quite full with shining gold pieces. The 
box was so heavy that the old woman had to help to carry 



THE ENVIOUS NEIGHBOUR 161 

it home, and you may guess what a supper the dog had 
that night! Now that he had made them rich, they gave 
him every day all that a dog likes best to eat, and the 
cushions on which he lay were fit for a prince. 

The story of the dog and his treasure soon became 
known, and a neighbour whose garden was next the old 
people's grew so envious of their good luck that he could 
neither eat nor sleep. As the dog had discovered a 
treasure once, this foolish man thought he must be able 
to discover one always, and begged the old couple to lend 
him their pet for a little while, so that he might be made 
rich also. 

"How can you ask such a thing? ' answered the old 
man indignantly. ' You kuow how much we love him, 
and that he is never out of our sight for five minutes/ 

But the envious neighbour would not heed his words, 
and came daily with the same request, till at last the 
old people, who could not bear to say no to anyone, 
promised to lend the dog, just for a night or two. No 
sooner did the man get hold of the dog than he turned 
him into the garden, but the dog did nothing but race, 
about, and the man was forced to wait with what patience 
he could. 

The next morning the man opened the house door, 
and the dog bounded joyfully into the garden, and, run- 
ning up to the foot of a tree, began to scratch wildly. 
The man called loudly to his wife to bring a spade, and 
followed the dog, as he longed to catch the first glimpse 
of the expected treasure. * But when he had dug up the 
ground, what did he find? Why, nothing but a parcel of 
old bones, which smelt so badly that he could not stay 
there a moment longer. And his heart was filled with 
rage against the dog who had played him this trick, and 
he seized a pickaxe and killed it on the spot, before he 
knew what he was doing. When he remembered that 
he would have to go with his story to the old man and 
his wife he was rather frightened, but there was nothing 
11 



162 THE ENVIOUS NEIGHBOUR 

to be gained by putting it off, so he pulled a very long 
face, and went to his neighbour's garden. 

4 Your dog/ said he, pretending to weep, ' has sud- 
denly fallen down dead, though I took every care of him, 
and gave him everything he could wish for. And I 
thought I had better come straight and tell you.' 

Weeping bitterly, the old man went to fetch the body 
of his favourite, and brought it home and buried it 
under the fig-tree where he had found the treasure. 
From morning till night he and his wife mourned over 
their loss, and nothing could comfort them. At length, 
one night when he was asleep, he dreamt that the dog 
appeared to him and told him to cut down the fig-tree 
over his grave, and out of its wood to make a mortar. But 
when the old man woke and thought of his dream he did 
not feel at all inclined to cut down the tree, which bore 
well every year, and consulted his wife about it. The 
woman did not hesitate a moment, and said that after 
what had happened before, the dog's advice must 
certainly be obeyed, so the tree was felled, and a beautiful 
mortar made from it. And when the season came for 
the rice crop to be gathered the mortar was taken down 
from its shelf, and the grains placed in it for pounding, 
when, lo and behold! in a twinkling of an eye, they all 
turned into gold pieces. At the sight of all this gold the 
hearts of the old people were glad, and once more they 
blessed their faithful dog. 

But it was not long before this story also came to the 
ears of their envious neighbour, and he lost no time in 
going to the old people and asking if they happened to 
have a mortar which they could lend him. The old man 
did not at all like parting with his precious treasure, but 
he never could say no, so the neighbour went off with the 
mortar under his arm. 

The moment he got into his own house he took a 
great handful of rice, and began to shell off the husks, 
with the help of his wife. But, instead of the gold pieces 



THE ENVIOUS NEIGHBOUR 163 

for which they looked, the rice turned into berries with 
such a horrible smell that they were obliged to run away, 
after smashing the mortar in a rage and setting fire to 
the bits. 

The old people next door were naturally very much 
put out when they learned the fate of their mortar, and 
were not at all comforted by the explanations and ex- 
cuses made by their neighbour. But that night the dog 
again appeared in a dream to his master, and told him 
that he must go and collect the ashes of the burnt mortar 
and bring them home. Then, when he heard that the 
Daimio, or great lord to whom this part of the country 
belonged, was expected at the capital, he was to carry 
the ashes to the high road, through which the procession 
would have to pass. And as soon as it was in sight he 
was to climb up all the cherry-trees and sprinkle the 
ashes on them, and they would soon blossom as they had 
never blossomed before. 

This time the old man did not wait to consult his 
wife as to whether he was to do what his dog had told him, 
but directly he got up he went to his neighbour's house 
and collected the ashes of the burnt mortar. He put 
them carefully in a china vase, and carried it to the high 
road, sitting down on a seat till the Daimio should pass. 
The cherry-trees were bare, for it was the season when 
small pots of them were sold to rich people, who kept them 
in hot places, so that they might blossom early and deco- 
rate their rooms. As to the trees in the open air, no one 
would ever think of looking for the tiniest bud for more than 
a month yet. The old man had not been waiting very long 
before he saw a cloud of dust in the far distance, and 
knew that it must be the procession of the Daimio. On 
they came, every man dressed in his finest clothes, and the 
crowd that was lining the road bowed their faces to the 
ground as they went by. Only the old man did not bow 
himself, and the great lord saw this, and bade one of his 
courtiers, in anger, go and inquire why he had disobeyed 



164 THE ENVIOUS NEIGHBOUR 

the ancient customs. But before the messenger could 
reach him the old man had climbed the nearest tree and 
scattered his ashes far and wide, and in an instant the 
white flowers had flashed into life, and the heart of the 
Daimio rejoiced, and he gave rich presents to the old man, 
whom he sent for to his castle. 

We may be sure that in a very little while the envious 
neighbour had heard this also, and his bosom was filled 
with hate. He hastened to the place where he had burned 
the mortar, collected a few of the ashes which the old man 
had left behind, and took them to the road, hoping that 
his luck might be as good as the old man's, or perhaps 
even better. His heart beat with pleasure when he caught 
the first glimpses of the Daimio's train, and he held him- 
self ready for the right moment. As the Daimio drew 
near he flung a great handful of ashes over the trees, but 
no buds or flowers followed the action: instead, the ashes 
were all blown back into the eyes of the Daimio and his 
warriors, till they cried out from pain. Then the prince 
ordered the evil-doer to be seized and bound and thrown 
into prison, where he was kept for many months. By the 
time he was set free everybody in his native village had 
found out his wickedness, and they would not let him live 
there any longer ; and as he would not leave off his evil 
ways he soon went from bad to worse, and came to a 
miserable end. 

[Japanische Marchen.] 



Digitized by Microsoft ® 



165 



THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 

Once upon a time what should happen did happen ; 
and if it had not happened this tale would never have 
been told. 

There was once an emperor, very great and mighty, 
and he ruled over an empire so large that no one knew 
where it began and where it ended. But if nobody 
could tell the exact extent of his sovereignty everybody 
was aware that the emperor's right eye laughed, while 
his left eye wept. One or two men of valour had the 
courage to go and ask him the reason of this strange 
fact, but he only laughed and said nothing; and the 
reason of the deadly enmity between his two eyes was a 
secret only known to the monarch himself. 

And all the while the emperor's sons were growing 
up. And such sons! All three like the morning stars in 
the sky ! 

Florea, the eldest, was so tall and broad-shouldered 
that no man in the kingdom could approach him. 

Costan, the second, was quite different. Small of 
stature, and slightly built, he had a strong arm and 
stronger wrist. 

Petru, the third and youngest, was tall and thin, 
more like a girl than a boy. He spoke very little, but 
laughed and sang, sang and laughed, from morning till 
night. He was very seldom serious, but then he had a 
way when he was thinking of stroking his hair over his 
forehead, which made him look old enough to sit in his 

father's council ! Digitized by Microsoft® 



166 



THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 



' You are grown up, Florea,' said Petru one day to his 
eldest brother ; ' do go and ask father why one eye laughs 
and the other weeps.' 




zne enpBROR whose rigttt eve 
uauGKeo ioniLe ms Lerrerexoepr 



But Florea would not go. He had learnt by ex- 
perience that this question always put the emperor in a 
rage. 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 



THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 167 

Petru next went to Costan, but did not succeed 
any better with him. 

4 Well, well, as everyone else is afraid, I suppose I 
must do it myself/ observed Petru at length. No sooner 
said than done ; the boy went straight to his father and 
put his question. 

4 May you go blind ! ' exclaimed the emperor in wrath ; 
' what business is it of yours?' and boxed Petru's ears 
soundly. 

Petru returned to his brothers, and told them what 
had befallen him ; but not long after it struck him that 
his father's left eye seemed to weep less, and the right to 
laugh more. 

4 I wonder if it has anything to do with my question,' 
thought he. c I'll try again! After all, what do two 
boxes on the ear matter ? ' 

So he put his question for the second time, and 
had the same answer; but the left eye only wept 
now and then, while the right eye looked ten years 
younger. 

4 It really must be true,' thought Petru. 4 Now I 
know what I have to do. I shall have to go on putting 
that question, and getting boxes on the ear, till both eyes 
laugh together.' 

No sooner said than done, Petru never, never for- 
swore himself. 

4 Petru, my dear boy,' cried the emperor, both his eyes 
laughing together, 4 1 see you have got this on the brain. 
Well, I will let you into the secret. My right eye laughs 
when I look at my three sons, and see how strong and 
handsome you all are, and the other eye weeps because I 
fear that after I die you will not be able to keep the 
empire together, and to protect it from its enemies. But 
if you can bring me water from the spring of the Fairy of 
the Dawn, to bathe my eyes, then they will laugh for 
evermore ; for I shall know that my sons are brave enough 
to overcome any foe.' 



168 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 

Thus spoke the emperor, and Petru picked up his hat 
and went to find his brothers. 

The three young men took counsel together, and 
talked the subject well over, as brothers should do. Aud 
the end of it was that Florea, as the eldest, went to the 
stables, chose the best and handsomest horse they con- 
tained, saddled him, and took leave of the court. 

' 1 am starting at once/ said he to his brothers, ' and 
if after a year, a month, a week, and a day I have not re- 
turned with the water from the spring of the Fairy of the 
Dawn, you, Costan, had better come after me.' So 
saying he disappeared round a corner of the palace. 

For three days and three nights he never drew 
rein. Like a spirit the horse flew over mountains and 
valleys till he came to the borders of the empire. Here 
was a deep, deep trench that girdled it the whole way 
round, and there was only a single bridge by which the 
trench could be crossed. Florea made instantly for the 
bridge, and there pulled up to look around him once 
more, to take leave of his native land. Then he turned, 
but before him was standing a dragon — oh ! such a 
dragon ! — a dragon with three heads and three horrible 
faces, all with their mouths wide open, one jaw reaching 
to heaven and the other to earth. 

At this awful sight Florea did not wait to give battle. 
He put spurs to his horse and dashed off, ivhere he 
neither knew nor cared. 

The dragon heaved a sigh and vanished without 
leaving a trace behind him. 

A week went by. Florea did not return home. Two 
passed ; and nothing was heard of him. After a month 
Costan began to haunt the stables and to look out a horse 
for himself. And the moment the year, the month, the 
week, and the day were over Costan mounted his horse 
and took leave of his youngest brother. 

4 If T fail, then you come,' said he, and followed the 

path that Florea had taken. ... 

by Microsoft® 



THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 169 

The dragon on the bridge was more fearful and his 
three heads more terrible than before, and the young hero 
rode away still faster than his brother had done. 

Nothing more was heard either of him or Florea ; and 
Petru remained alone. 

'I must go after my brothers,' said Petru one day to 
his father. 

'Go, then,' said his father, ' and may you have better 
luek than they ' ; and he bade farewell to Petru, who 
rode straight to the borders of the kingdom. 

The dragon on the bridge was yet more dreadful than 
the one Florea and Costan had seen, for this one had 
seven heads instead of only three. 

Petru stopped for a moment when he caught sight of 
this terrible creature. Then he found his voice. 

' Get out of the way ! ' cried he. ' Get out of the 
way!' he repeated again, as the dragon did not move. 
' Get out of the way!' and with this last summons he 
drew his sword and rushed upon him. In an instant the 
heavens seemed to darken round him and he was sur- 
rounded by lire — fire to right of him, fire to left of him, 
fire to front of him, fire to rear of him ; nothing but fire 
whichever way he looked, for the dragon's seven heads 
were vomiting flame. 

The horse neighed and reared at the horrible sight, 
and Petru could not use the sword he had in readiness. 

'Be quiet! this won't do!' he said, dismounting 
hastily, but holding the bridle firmly in his left hand and 
grasping his sword in his right. 

But even so he got on no better, for he could see 
nothing but fire and smoke. 

' There is no help for it ; I must go back and get a 
better horse,' said he, and mounted again and rode 
homewards. 

At the gate of the palace his nurse, old Birscha, was 
waiting for him eagerly. 

' Ah, Petru, my son, I knew you would have to come 



170 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 

back/ she cried. ' You did not set about the matter 
properly.' 

' How ought I to have set about it? ' asked Petru, half 
angrily, half sadly. 

' Look here, my boy,' replied old Birscha. ' You 
can never reach the spring of the Fairy of the Dawn 
unless you ride the horse which your father, the emperor, 
rode in his youth. Go and ask where it is to be found, 
and then mount it and be off with you.' 

Petru thanked her heartily for her advice, and went 
at once to make inquiries about the horse. 

4 By the light of my eyes!' exclaimed the emperor 
when Petru had put his question. ' Who has told you 
anything about that? It must have been that old witch 
of a Birscha? Have you lost your wits? Fifty years have 
passed since I was young, and who knows where the 
bones of my horse may be rotting, or whether a scrap of 
his reins still lie in his stall? I have forgotten all about 
him long ago.' 

Petru turned away in anger, and went back to his 
old nurse. 

' Do not be cast down,' she said with a smile ; ' if that 
is how the affair stands all will go well. Go and fetch 
the scrap of the reins ; I shall soon know what must be 
done.' 

The place was full of saddles, bridles, and bits of 
leather. Petru picked out the oldest, and blackest, and 
most decayed pair of reins, and brought them to the old 
woman, who murmured something over them and 
sprinkled them with incense, and held them out to the 
young man. 

1 Take the reins/ said she, * and strike them violently 
against the pillars of the house.' 

Petru did what he was told, and scarcely had the 
reins touched the pillars when something happened — 
how I have no idea — that made Petru stare with surprise. 
A horse stood before him — a horse whose equal in beauty 



Digitized by Microsoft® 



THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 173 

the world had never seen ; with a saddle on him of gold 
and precious stones, and with sueli a dazzling bridle you 
hardly dared to look at it, lest you should lose your sight. 
A splendid horse, a splendid saddle, and a splendid bridle, 
all ready for the splendid young prince ! 

i Jump on the back of the brown horse/ said the old 
woman, and she turned round and went into the house. 

The moment Petru was seated on the horse, he felt 
his arm three times as strong as before, and even his 
heart felt braver. 

4 Sit firmly in the saddle, my lord, for we have a long 
way to go and no time to waste,' said the brown horse, 
and Petru soon saw that they were riding as no man 
and horse had ever ridden before. 

On the bridge stood a dragon, but not the same one 
as he had tried to fight with, for this dragon had twelve 
heads, eaeh more hideous and shooting forth more 
terrible flames than the other. But, horrible though he 
was, he had met his match. Petru showed no fear, but 
rolled up his sleeves, that his arms might be free. 

e Get out of the way ! ' he said when he had done, but 
the dragon's heads only breathed forth more flames and 
smoke. Petru wasted no more words, but drew his sword 
and prepared to throw himself on the bridge. 

1 Stop a moment ; be careful, my lord/ put in the 
horse, ' and be sure you do what I tell you. Dig your 
spurs iu my body up to the rowel, draw your sword, and 
keep yourself ready, for we shall have to leap over both 
bridge and dragon. When you see that we are right 
above the dragon cut off his biggest head, wipe the 
blood off the sword, and put it back clean in the sheath 
before we touch earth again/ 

So Petru dug in his spurs, drew his sword, cut off the 
head, wiped the blood, and put the sword back in the 
sheath before the horse's hoofs touched the ground 
again. 

And in this fashion they passed the bridge. 



174 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 

4 But we have got to go further still,' said Petru, after 
he had taken a farewell glance at his native land. 

' Yes, forwards/ answered the horse ; ' but you must 
tell me, my lord, at what speed you wish to go. Like 
the wind? Like thought? Like desire? or like a curse? ' 

Petru looked about him, up at the heavens and down 
again to the earth. A desert lay spread out before him, 
whose aspect made his hair stand on end. 

4 AVe will ride at different speeds,' said he, 4 not so fast 
as to grow tired nor so slow as to waste time.' 

And so they rode, one day like the wind, the next 
like thought, the third and fourth like desire and like a 
curse, till they reached the borders of the desert. 

4 Now walk, so that I may look about, and see what 
I have never seen before,' said Petru, rubbing his eyes 
like one who wakes from sleep, or like him who be- 
holds something so strange that it seems as if . . . Be- 
fore Petru lay a wood made of copper, with copper trees 
and copper leaves, with bushes- and flowers of copper 
also. 

Petru stood and stared as a man does when he sees 
something that he has never seen, and of which he has 
never heard. 

Then he rode right into the wood. On each side of 
'the way the rows of flowers began to praise Petru, and 
to try and persuade him to pick some of them and make 
himself a wreath. 

4 Take me, for I am lovely, and can give strength to 
whoever plucks me,' said one. 

'No, take me, for whoever wears me in his hat will 
be loved by the most beautiful woman in the world,' 
pleaded the second ; and then one after another bestirred 
itself, each- more charming than the last, all promising, 
in soft sweet voices, wonderful things to Petru, if only he 
would pick them. 

Petru was not deaf to their persuasion, and was just 
stooping to Pic^when^th^m^ejg^ug to one side. 




I THE battle with the welwa in the copper wood 
Digitized by Microsoft ® 



Digitized by Microsoft ® 



THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN Ml 

4 Why don't you stay still? ' asked Petru roughly. 

4 Do not pick the flowers ; it will bring you bad luck,' 
answered the horse. 

'Why should it do that?' 

4 These flowers are under a curse. Whoever plucks 
them must fight the Welwa 1 of the woods.' 

4 What kind of a goblin is the Welwa?' 

4 Oh, do leave me in peace ! But listen. Look at the 
flowers as much as you like, but pick none/ and the horse 
walked on slowly. 

Petru knew by experience that he would do well to 
attend to the horse's advice, so he made a great effort 
and tore his mind away from the flowers. 

But in vain! If a man is fated to be unlucky, 
unlucky he will be, whatever he may do ! 

The flowers went on beseeching him, and his heart 
grew ever weaker and weaker. 

4 What must come will come,' said Petru at length ; 
4 at any rate I shall see the Welwa of the woods, what 
she is like, and which way I had best fight her. If she 
is ordained to be the cause of my death, well, then it will 
be so; but if not I shall conquer her though she were 
twelve hundred Welwas,' and once more he stooped 
down to gather the flowers. 

4 You have done very wrong,' said the horse sadly. 
4 But it can't be helped now. Get yourself ready for 
battle, for here is the Welwa ! ' 

Hardly had he done speaking, scarcely had Petru 
twisted his wreath, when a soft breeze arose on all sides 
at once. Out of the breeze came a storm wind, and the 
storm wind swelled and swelled till everything around 
was blotted out in darkness, and darkness covered them 
as with a thick cloak, while the earth swayed and shook 
under their feet. 

4 Are you afraid? ' asked the horse, shaking his mane. 

4 Not yet,' replied Petru stoutly, though cold shivers 
i A goblin. 

12 



178 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 

were running down his back. ' What must come will 
come, whatever it is.' 

' Don't be afraid/ said the horse. ' I will help } t ou. 
Take the bridle from my neck, and try to catch the 
Welwa with it.' 

The words were hardly spoken, and Petru had no 
time even to unbuckle the bridle, when the Welwa 
herself stood before him ; and Petru could not bear to 
look at her, so horrible was she. 

She had not exactly a head, yet neither was she 
without one. She did not fly through the air, but neither 
did she walk upon the earth. She had a mane like a 
horse, horns like a deer, a face like a bear, eyes like a 
polecat; while her body had something of each. And 
that was the Welwa. 

Petru planted himself firmly in his stirrups, and 
begau to lay about him with his sword, but could feel 
nothing. 

A day and a night went by, and the fight was still 
undecided, but at last the Welwa began to pant for 
breath. 

' Let us wait a little and rest,' gasped she. 

Petru stopped and lowered his sword. 

4 You must not stop an instant,' said the horse, and 
Petru gathered up all his strength, and laid about him 
harder than ever. 

The Welwa gave a neigh like a horse and a howl like 
a wolf, and threw herself afresh on Petru. For another 
day and night the battle raged more furiously than 
before. And Petru grew so exhausted he could scarcely 
move his arm. 

' Let us wait a little and rest,' cried the Welwa for 
the second time, ' for I see you are as weary as I am.' 

1 You must not stop an instant,' said the horse. 

And Petru went on fighting, though he barely had 
strength to move his arm. But the Welwa had ceased 
to throw herself upon him, and began to deliver her 



THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 179 

blows cautiously, as if she bad no longer power to 
strike. 

And on the third day they were still fighting, but as 
the morning sky began to redden Petru somehow 
managed — how I cannot tell — to throw the bridle over 
the head of the tired Welwa. In a moment, from the 
Welwa sprang a horse — the most beautiful horse in the 
world. 

' Sweet be your life, for you have delivered me from 
my enchantment, ' said he, and began to rub his nose 
against his brother's. And he told Petru all his story, 
and how he had been bewitched for many years. 

So Petru tied the Welwa to his own horse and rode 
on. Where did he ride? That I cannot tell you, but he 
rode on fast till he got out of the copper wood. 

4 Stay still, and let me look about, and see what I 
never have seen before,' said Petru again to his horse. 
For in front of him stretched a forest that was far more 
wonderful, as it was made of glistening trees and 
shining flowers. It was the silver wood. 

As before, the flowers began to beg the young man to 
gather them. 

' Do not pluck them,' warned the Welwa, trotting 
beside him, ' for my brother is seven times stronger than 
I* ; but though Petru knew by experience what this meant, 
it was no use, and after a moment's hesitation he began 
to gather the flowers, and to twist himself a wreath. 

Then the storm wind howled louder, the earth 
trembled more violently, and the night grew darker, than 
the first time, and the Welwa of the silver wood came 
rushing on with seven times the speed of the other. For 
three days and three nights they fought, but at last Petru 
cast the bridle over the head of the second Welwa. 

1 Sweet be your life, for you have delivered me from 
enchantment,' said the second Welwa, and they all 
journeyed on as before. 

But soon they came to a gold wood more lovely far 



180 THE FAIEY OF THE DAWN 

than the other two, and again Petru's companions 
pleaded with him to ride through it quickly, and to leave 
the flowers alone. But Petru turned a deaf ear to all 
they said, and before he had woven his golden crown he 
felt that something terrible, that he could not see, was 
coming near him right out of the earth. He drew his 
sword and made himself ready for the fight. ' I will die! ' 
cried he, ' or he shall have my bridle over his head.' 

He had hardly said the words when a thick fog 
wrapped itself around him, and so thick was it that he 
could not see his own hand, or hear the sound of his voice. 
For a day and a night he fought with his sword, without 
ever once seeing his enemy, then suddenly the fog began 
to lighten. By dawn of the second day it had vanished 
altogether, and the sun shone brightly in the heavens. It 
seemed to Petru that he had been born again. 

And the Welwa? She had vanished. 

c You had better take breath now you can, for the fight 
will have to begin all over again,' said the horse. 

4 What was it? ' asked Petru. 

' It was the Welwa/ replied the horse, c changed into 
a fog ! Listen ! She is coming ! ' 

And Petru had hardly drawn a long breath when 
he felt something approaching from the side, though what 
he could not tell. A river, yet not a river, for it seemed 
not to flow over the earth, but to go where it liked, and 
to leave no trace of its passage. 

'Woe be to me! ' cried Petru, frightened at last. 

'Beware, and never stand still,' called the brown 
horse, and more he could not say, for the water was 
choking him. 

The battle began anew. For a day and night Petru 
fought on, without knowing at whom or what he struck. 
At dawn on the second, he felt that both his feet were 
lame. 

4 Now I am done for/ thought he, and his blows fell 
thicker and harder in his desperation. And the sun came 

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THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 181 

out and the water disappeared, without his knowing how 
or when. 

' Take breath/ said the horse, ' for you have no time 
to lose. The Welwa will return in a moment.' 

Petru made no reply, only wondered how, exhausted 
as he was, he should ever be able to carry on the fight. 
But he settled himself in his saddle, grasped his sword, 
and waited. 

And then something came to him — what I cannot tell 
you. Perhaps, in his dreams, a man may see a creature 
which has what it has not got, and has not got what it 
has. At least, that was what the Welwa seemed like to 
Petru. She flew with her feet, and walked with her 
wings ; her head was in her back, and her tail was on top 
of her body ; her eyes were in her neck, and her neck in 
her forehead, and how to describe her further I do not 
know. 

Petru felt for a moment as if he was wrapped in a 
garment of fear ; then he shook himself and took heart, 
and fought as he had never yet fought before. 

As the day wore on, his strength began to fail, and 
when darkness fell he could hardly keep his eyes open. 
By midnight he knew he was no longer on his horse, but 
standing on the ground, though he could not have told 
how he got there. When the grey light of morning came, 
he was past standing on his feet, but fought now upon his 
knees. 

' Make one more struggle ; it is nearly over now/ 
said the horse, seeing that Petru's strength was waning 
fast. 

Petru wiped the sweat from his brow with his gauntlet, 
and with a desperate effort rose to his feet. 

c Strike the Welwa on the mouth with the bridle,' said 
the horse, and Petru did it. 

The Welwa uttered a neigh so loud that Petru thought 
he would be deaf for life, and then, though she too was 
nearly spent, flung herself upon her enemy ; but Petru 



182 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 

was on the watch and threw the bridle over her head, as 
she rushed on, so that when the day broke there were three 
horses trotting beside him. 

4 May your wife be the most beautiful of women,' said 
the Welwa, ' for you have delivered me from my enchant- 
ment. ' So the four horses galloped fast, and by nightfall 
they were at the borders of the golden forest. 

Then Petru began to think of the crowns that he wore, 
and what they had cost him. 

4 After all, what do I want with so many? I will keep 
the best, 5 he said to himself; and taking off first the 
copper crown and then the silver, he threw them away. 

' Stay! ' cried the horse, 'do not throw them away! 
Perhaps we shall find them of use. Get down and pick 
them up.' So Petru got down and picked them up, and 
they all went on. 

In the evening, when the sun is getting low, and all 
the midges are beginning to bite, Petru saw a wide heath 
stretching before him. 

At the same instant the horse stood still of itself. 

' What is the matter?' asked Petru. 

4 I am afraid that something evil will happen to us,' 
answered the horse. 

'But why should it?' 

' We are going to enter the kingdom of the goddess 
Mittwoch, 1 and the further we ride into it the colder Ave 
shall get. But all along the road there are huge fires, 
and I dread lest you should stop and warm yourself at 
them.' 

' And why should I not warm myself?' 

' Something fearful will happen to you if you do,' 
replied the horse sadly. 

6 Well, forward ! ' cried Petru lightly, ' and if I have to 
bear cold, I must bear it! ; 

With every step they went into the kingdom of 
Mittwoch, the air grew colder and more icy, till even the 
1 In German 'Mittwoch/ the feminine form of Mercury. 



THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 183 

marrow in their bones was frozen. But Petru was no 
coward ; the fight he had gone through had strengthened 
his powers of endurance, and he stood the test bravely. 

Along the road on each side were great fires, with 
men standing by them, who spoke pleasantly to Petru as 
he went by, and invited him to join them. The breath 
froze in his mouth, but he took no notice, only bade his 
horse ride on the faster. 

How long Petru may have waged battle silently with 
the cold one cannot tell, for everybody knows that the 
kingdom of Mittwoch is not to be crossed in a day, but he 
struggled on, though the frozen rocks burst around, and 
though his teeth chattered, and even his eyelids were 
frozen. 

At length they reached the dwelling of Mittwoch her- 
self, and, jumping from his horse, Petru threw the reins 
over his horse's neck and entered the hut. 
i Good-day, little mother! ' said he. 
' Very well, thank you, my frozen friend! J 
Petru laughed, and waited for her to speak. 
' You have borne yourself bravely,' went on the god- 
dess, tapping him on the shoulder. ' Now you shall have 
your reward,' and she opened an iron chest, out of which 
she took a little box. 

' Look ! ' said she ; ' this little box has been lying 
here for ages, waiting for the man who could win his way 
through the Ice Kingdom. Take it, and treasure it, for 
some day it may help you. If you open it, it will tell 
you anything you want, and give you news of your 
fatherland.' 

Petru thanked her gratefully for her gift, mounted his 
horse, and rode away. 

When he was some distance from the hut, he opened 
the casket. 

4 What are your commands V asked a voice inside. 
'Give me news of my father/ he replied, rather 
nervously. 



184 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 

* He is sitting in council with his nobles,' answered the 
casket. 

' Is he well ? ' 

' Not particularly, for he is furiously angry/ 

4 What has angered him? ? 

8 Your brothers Costan and Florea,' replied the 
casket. ' It seems to me they are trying to rule him 
and the kingdom as well, and the old man says they are 
not fit to do it.' 

' Push on, good horse, for we have no time to lose! ' 
cried Petru ; then he shut up the box, and put it in his 
pocket. 

They rushed on as fast as ghosts, as whirlwinds, as 
vampires when they hunt at midnight, and how long they 
rode no man can tell, for the way is far. 

fc Stop ! I have some advice to give you,' said the 
horse at last. 

' What is it?' asked Petru. 

' You have known what it is to suffer cold ; you will 
have to endure heat, such as you have never dreamed of. 
Be as brave now as you were then. Let no one tempt you 
to try to cool yourself, or evil will befall you.' 

i Forwards! ' answered Petru. ' Do not worry your- 
self. If I have escaped without being frozen, there is no 
chance of my melting.' 

4 Why not? This is a heat that will melt the marrow 
in your bones — a heat that is only to be felt in the king- 
dom of the Goddess of Thunder.' * 

And it ivas hot. The very iron of the horse's shoes 
began to melt, but Petru gave no heed. The sweat ran 
down his face, but he dried it with his gauntlet. What 
heat could be he never knew before, and on the way, not 
a stone's throw from the road, lay the most delicious 
valleys, full of shady trees and bubbling streams. When 
Petru looked at them his heart burned within him, and 

1 In the German ' Donnerstag ' — the day of the Thunder God, 

t e. Jupiter. Digitized by Microsoft ( 




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THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 187 

his mouth grew parched. And standing among the 
flowers were lovely maidens who called to him in soL 
voices, till he had to shut his eyes against their spells. 

' Come, my hero, come and rest ; the heat will kill 
you,' said they. 

Petru shook his head and said nothing, for he had lost 
the power of speech. 

Long he rode in this awful state, how long none can 
tell. Suddenly the heat seemed to become less, and, in 
the distance, he saw a little hut on a hill. This was the 
dwelling of the Goddess of Thunder, and when he drew 
rein at her door the goddess herself came out to meet 
him. 

She welcomed him, and kindly invited him in, and 
bade him tell her all his adventures. So Petru told her 
all that had happened to him, and why he was there, and 
then took farewell of her, as he had no time to lose. 
' For/ he said, ' who knows how far the Fairy of the 
Dawn may yet be ? 7 

' Stay for one moment, for I have a word of advice to 
give you. You are about to enter the kingdom of Venus ; 1 
go and tell her, as a message from me, that I hope she 
will not tempt you to delay. On your way back, come to 
me again, and I will give you something that may be of 
use to you.' 

So Petru mounted his horse, and had hardly ridden 
three steps when he found himself in a new country. 
Here it was neither hot nor cold, but the air was warm and 
soft like spring, though the way ran through a heath 
covered with sand and thistles. 

4 What can that be? ' asked Petru, when he saw a long, 
long way off, at the very end of the heath, something 
resembling a house. 

' That is the house of the goddess Venus,' replied the 
horse, ' and if we ride hard we may reach it before dark ' ; 
and he darted off like an arrow, so that as twilight fell 
1 ' Vineri ' is Friday, and also i Venus. 



188 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 

they found themselves nearing the house. Petru's heart 
leaped at the sight, for all the way along he had been 
followed by a crowd of shadowy figures who danced 
about him from right to left, and from back to front, and 
Petru, though a brave man, felt now and then a thrill of 
fear. 

' They won't hurt you,' said the horse ; 4 they are just 
the daughters of the whirlwind amusing themselves while 
they are waiting for the ogre of the moon.' 

Then he stopped in front of the house, and Petru 
jumped off and went to the door. 

' Do not be in such a hurry,' cried the horse. ; There 
are several things I must tell you first. You cannot 
enter the house of the goddess Venus like that. She is 
always watched and guarded by the whirlwind.' 

4 What am I to do then ? ' 

4 Take the copper wreath, and go with it to that little 
hill over there. When you reach it, say to yourself, 
"Were there ever such lovely maidens! such angels! 
such fairy souls ! " Then hold the wreath high in the air 
and cry, "Oh! if I knew whether any one would accept 
this wreath from me ... if I knew ! if I knew ! " and 
throw the wreath from you ! ' 

1 And why should I do all this? ' said Petru. 

4 Ask no questions, but go and do it,' replied the horse. 
And Petru did. 

Scarcely had he flung away the copper wreath than 
the whirlwind flung himself upon it, and tore it in 
pieces. 

Then Petru turned once more to the horse. 

4 Stop ! ' cried the horse again. 4 1 have other things 
to tell you. Take the silver wreath and knock at the 
windows of the goddess Venus. When she says, "Who 
is there?" answer that you have come on foot and lost 
your way on the heath. She will then tell you to go 
your way back again ; but take care not to stir from the 
spot. Instead, be sure you say to her, " No, indeed I shall 




Q jftber OhirTiot ria^^^ 



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THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN ISO 

do nothing of the sort, as from my childhood I have 
heard stories of the beauty of the goddess Venus, and it 
was not for nothing that I had shoes made of leather 
with soles of steel, and have travelled for nine years and 
nine months, and have won in battle the silver wreath, 
which I hope you may allow me to give you, and have 
done and suffered everything to be where I now am." 
This is what you must say. What happens after is your 
affair.' 

Petm asked no more, but went towards the house. 

By this time it was pitch dark, and there was only 
the ray of light that streamed through the windows to 
guide him, and at the sound of his footsteps two dogs 
began to bark loudly. 

' Which of those dogs is barking ? Is he tired of life ? ' 
asked the goddess Venus. 

' It is I, O goddess ! ' replied Petru, rather timidly. 
4 1 have lost my way on the heath, and do not know 
where I am to sleep this night.' 

< Where did you leave your horse ? ' asked the goddess 
sharply. 

Petru did not answer. He was not sure if he was to 
lie, or whether he had better tell the truth. 

4 Go away, my sou, there is no place for you here,' 
replied she, drawing back from the window. 

Then Petru repeated hastily what the horse had told 
him to say, and no sooner had he done so than the 
goddess opened the window, and in gentle tones she 
asked him : 

4 Let me see this wreath, my son,' and Petru held it 
out to her. 

4 Come into the house,' went on the goddess ; 4 do not 
fear the dogs, they always know my will.' And so they 
did, for as the young man passed they wagged their tails 
to him. 

4 Good evening,' said Petru as he entered the house, 
and, seating himself near the fire, listened comfortably to 



190 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 

whatever the goddess might choose to talk about, which 
was for the most part the wickedness of men, with whom 
she was evidently very angry. But Petru agreed with 
her in everything, as he had been taught was only 
polite. 

But was anybody ever so old as she ! I do not know 
why Petru devoured her so with his eyes, unless it was 
to count the wrinkles on her face; but if so he would have 
had to live seven lives, and each life seven times the 
length of an ordinary one, before he could have reckoned 
them up. 

But Venus was joyful in her heart when she saw 
Petru's eyes fixed upon her. 

4 Nothing was that is, and the world was not a world 
when I was born,' said she. ' When I grew up and the 
world came into being, everyone thought I was the most 
beautiful girl that ever was seen, though many hated me 
for it. But every hundred years there came a wrinkle 
on my face. And now I am old.' Then she went on to 
tell Petru that she was the daughter of an emperor, and 
their uearest neighbour was the Fairy of the Dawn, 
with whom she had a violent quarrel, and with that she 
broke out into loud abuse of her. 

Petru did not know what to do. He listened in 
silence for the most part, but now and then he would 
say, ' Yes, yes, you must have been badly treated/ just 
for politeness' sake ; what more could he do ? 

* I will give you a task to perforin, for you are brave, 
and will carry it through/ continued Venus, when she 
had talked a long time, and both of them were getting 
sleepy. 4 Close to the Fairy's house is a well, and 
whoever drinks from it will blossom again like a rose. 
Bring me a flagon of it, and I will do anything to 
prove my gratitude. It is not easy ! no one knows that 
better than I do ! The kingdom is guarded on every side 
by wild beasts and horrible dragons ; but I will tell you 
more about that, and I also have something to give you.' 



THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 191 

Then she rose and lifted the lid of an iron-bound chest, 
and took out of it a very tiny flute. 

4 Do you see this? ' she asked. ' An old man gave it 
to me when I was young: whoever listens to this flute 
goes to sleep, and nothing can wake him. Take it and 
play on it as long as you remain in the kingdom of the 
Fairy of the Dawn, and you will be safe/ 

At this, Petru told her that he had another task to 
fulfil at the well of the Fairy of the Dawn, and Venus 
was still better pleased when she heard his tale. 

So Petru bade her good-night, put the flute in its 
case, and laid himself down in the lowest chamber to 
sleep. 

Before the dawn he was awake again, and his first care 
was to give to each of his horses as much corn as he could 
eat, and then to lead them to the well to water. Then he 
dressed himself and made ready to start. 

4 Stop/ cried Venus from her window, ' I have still a 
piece of advice to give you. Leave one of your horses 
here, and only take three. Ride slowly till you get to 
the fairy's kingdom, then dismount and go on foot. 
When you return, see that all your three horses remain 
on the road, while you walk. But above all beware never 
to look the Fairy of the Dawn in the face, for she has 
eyes that will bewitch you, and glances that will befool 
you. She is hideous, more hideous than anything you 
can imagine, with owl's eyes, foxy face, and cat's claws. 
Do you hear? do you hear? Be sure you never look at 
her.' 

Petru thanked her, and managed to get off at last. 

Far, far away, where the heavens touch the earth, 
where the stars kiss the flowers, a soft red light was seen, 
such as the sky sometimes has in spring, only lovelier, 
more wonderful. 

That light was behind the palace of the Fairy of the 
Dawn, and it took Petru two days and nights through 
flowery meadows to reach it. And besides, it was 



192 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 

neither hot nor cold, bright nor dark, but something of 
them all, and Petru did not find the way a step too 
long. 

After some time Petru saw something white rise up 
out of the red of the sky, and when he drew nearer he 
saw it was a castle, and so splendid that his eyes were 
dazzled when they looked at it. He did not know there 
was such a beautiful castle in the world. 

But no time was to be lost, so he shook himself, 
jumped down from his horse, and, leaving him on the 
dewy grass, began to play on his flute as he walked 
along. 

He had hardly gone many steps when he stumbled over 
a huge giant, who had been lulled to sleep by the music. 
This was one of the guards of the castle! As he lay there 
on his back, he seemed so big that in spite of Petru's 
haste he stopped to measure him. 

The further went Petru, the more strange and terrible 
were the sights he saw— lions, tigers, dragons with seven 
heads, all stretched out in the sun fast asleep. It is 
needless to say what the dragons were like, for nowadays 
everyone knows, and dragons are not things to joke about. 
Petru ran through them like the wind. Was it haste or 
fear that spurred him on ? 

At last he came to a river, but let nobody think for a 
moment that this river was like other rivers? Instead 
of water, there flowed milk, and the bottom was of 
precious stones and pearls, instead of sand and pebbles. 
And it ran neither fast nor slow, but both fast and slow 
together. And the river flowed round the castle, and on 
its banks slept lions with iron teeth and claws ; and beyond 
were gardens such as only the Fairy of the Dawn can 
have, and on the flowers slept a fairy! All this saw Petru 
from the other side. 

But how was he to get over? To be sure there was a 
bridge, but, even if it had not been guarded by sleeping 
lious, it was plainly not meant for man to walk on. Who 

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THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 



193 



could tell what it was made of? It looked like soft little 
woolly clouds ! 

So he stood thinking what was to be done, for get 
across he must. After a while, he determined to take the 



^'*- ,ft,l, M'A:: 




risk, and strode back to the sleeping giant. ' Wake up, 
my brave man!' he cried, giving him a shake. 

The giant woke and stretched out his hand to pick up 
Petru, just as we should catch a fly. But Petru played 

13 



194 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 

on his flute, and the giant fell back again. Petru tried 
this three times, and when he was satisfied that the giant 
was really in his power he took out a handkerchief, 
bound the two little fingers of the giant together, drew 
his sword, and cried for the fourth time, l Wake up, my 
brave man.' 

When the giant saw the trick that had been played 
on him he said to Petru, 'Do you call this a fair fight? 
Fight according to rules, if you really are a hero! ' 

' I will by-and-by, but first I want to ask you a 
question! Will you swear that you will carry me over 
the river if I fight honourably with you?' And the 
giant swore. 

When his hands were freed, the giant flung him- 
self upon Petru, hoping to crush him by his weight. But 
he had met his match. It was not yesterday, nor the day 
before, that Petru had fought his first battle, and he bore 
himself bravely. 

For three days and three nights the battle raged, and 
sometimes one had the upper hand, and sometimes the 
other, till at length they both lay struggling on the ground, 
but Petru was on top, with the point of his sword at the 
giant's throat. 

4 Let me go ! let me go ! ' shrieked he. ' 1 own that I 
am beaten ! ' 

' Will you take me over the river? ' asked Petru. 

' I will,' gasped the giant. 

' What shall I do to you if you break your word ? ' 

' Kill me, any way you like ! But let me live now.' 

1 Very well,' said Petru, and he bound the giant's left 
hand to his right foot, tied one handkerchief round his 
mouth to prevent him crying out, and another round his 
eyes, and led him to the river. 

Once they had reached the bank he stretched one leg 
over to the other side, and, catching up Petru in the 
palm of his hand, set him down on the further shore. 

' That is all right/ said Petru. Then he played a few 



THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 195 

notes on his flute, and the giant went to sleep again. 
Even the fairies who had been bathing a little lower 
down heard the music and fell asleep among the flowers 
on the bank. Petru saw them as he passed, and thought, 
4 If they are so beautiful, why should the Fairy of the 
Dawn be so ugly?' But he dared not linger, and pushed 
on. 

And now he was in the wonderful gardens, which 
seemed more wonderful still than they had done from 
afar. But Petru could see no faded flowers, nor any 
birds, as he hastened through them to the castle. No 
one was there to bar his way, for all were asleep. Even 
the leaves had ceased to move. 

He passed through the courtyard, and entered the castle 
itself. 

What he beheld there need not be told, for all the 
world knows that the palace of the Fairy of the Dawn is 
no ordinary place. Gold and precious stones were as 
common as wood with us, and the stables where the 
horses of the sun were kept were more splendid than 
the palace of the greatest emperor in the world. 

Petru went up the stairs and walked quickly through 
eight-and- forty rooms, hung with silken stuffs, and all 
empty. In the forty-ninth he found the Fairy of the 
Dawn herself. 

In the middle of this room, which was as large as a 
church, Petru saw the celebrated well that he had come 
so far to seek. It was a well just like other wells, and it 
seemed strange that the Fairy of the Dawn should have 
it in her own chamber; yet anyone could tell it had been 
there for hundreds of years. And by the well slept the 
Fairy of the Dawn — the Fairy of the Dawn — herself ! 

And as Petru looked at her the magic flute dropped by 
his side, and he held his breath. 

Near the well was a table, on which stood bread 
made with does' milk, and a flagon of wine. It was the 
bread of strength and the wine of youth, and Petru 



196 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 

longed for them. He looked once at the bread and once 
at the wine, and then at the Fairy of the Dawn, still 
sleeping on her silken cushions. 

As he looked a mist came over his senses. The fairy 
opened her eyes slowly and looked at Petru, who lost his 
head still further ; but he just managed to remember his 
flute, and a few notes of it sent the Fairy to sleep again, 
and he kissed her thrice. Then he stooped and laid his 
golden wreath upon her forehead, ate a piece of the bread 
and drank a cupful of the wine of youth, and this he 
did three times over. Then he filled a flask with water 
from the well, and vanished swiftly. 

As he passed through the garden it seemed quite 
different from what it was before. The flowers were 
lovelier, the streams ran quicker, the sunbeams shone 
brighter, and the fairies seemed gayer. And all this had 
been caused by the three kisses Petru had given the Fairy 
of the Dawn. 

He passed everything safely by, and was soon seated 
in his saddle again. Faster than the wind, faster than 
thought, faster than longing, faster than hatred rode 
Petru. At length he dismounted, and, leaving his horses 
at the roadside, went on foot to the house of Venus. 

The goddess Venus knew that he was coming, and 
went to meet him, bearing with her white bread and red 
wine. 

4 Welcome back, my prince,' said she. 

4 Good day, and many thanks,' replied the young man, 
holding out the flask containing the magic water. She 
received it with joy, and after a short rest Petru set forth, 
for he had no time to lose. 

He stopped a few minutes, as he had promised, with 
the Goddess of Thunder, and was taking a hasty farewell 
of her, when she called him back. 

4 Stay, I have a warning to give you,' said she. 
' Beware of your life ; make friends with no man ; do 
not ride fast, ^i^M^ BSMoW^ hand ! belieV6 




1 



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THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 197 

no one, and flee flattering tongues. Go, and take care, 
for the way is long, the world is bad, and you hold some- 
thing very precious. But I will give you this cloth to 
help you. It is not much to look at, but it is enchanted, 
and whoever carries it will never be struck by lightning, 
pierced by a lance, or smitten with a sword, and the 
arrows will glance off his body.' 

Petru thanked her and rode off, and, taking out his 
treasure box, inquired how matters were going at home. 
Not well, it said. The emperor was blind altogether 
now, and Florea and Costan had besought him to give the 
government of the kingdom into their hands ; but he 
would not, saying that he did not mean to resign the 
government till he had washed his eyes from the well of 
. the Fairy of the Dawn. Then the brothers had gone to 
consult old Birscha, who told them that Petru was already 
on his way home bearing the water. They had set out to 
meet him, and would try to take the magic water from 
him, and then claim as their reward the government of 
the emperor. 

* You are lying ! ' cried Petru angrily, throwing the 
box on the ground, where it broke into a thousand 
pieces. 

It was not long before he began to catch glimpses of 
his native land, and he drew rein near a bridge, the better 
to look at it. He was still gazing, when he heard a sound 
in the distance as if some one was calling him by his 
name. 

c You, Petru ! ' it said. 

i On ! on ! ' cried the horse ; ' it will fare ill with you 
if you stop.' 

c No, let us stop, and see who and what it is! ' answered 
Petru, turning his horse round, and coming face to face 
with his two brothers. He had forgotten the warning 
given him by the Goddess of Thunder, and when Costan 
and Florea drew near with soft and flattering words he 
jumped straight off his horse, and rushed to embrace them. 



198 THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN 

He had a thousand questions to ask, and a thousand things 
to tell. But his brown horse stood sadly hanging his 
head. 

' Petru, my dear brother/ at length said Florea, 
' would it not be better if we carried the water for you ? 
Some one might try to take it from you on the road, 
while no one would suspect us. 7 

' So it would,' added Costan. ' Florea speaks well.' 
But Petru shook his head, and told them what the Goddess 
of Thunder had said, and about the cloth she had given 
him. And both brothers understood there was only one 
way in which they could kill him. 

At a stone's throw from where they stood ran a 
rushing stream, with clear deep pools. 

'Don't you feel thirsty, Costan?' asked Florea, 
winking at him. 

4 Yes,' replied Costan, understanding directly what 
was wanted. ' Come, Petru, let us drink now we have 
the chance, and then we will set out on our way home. It 
is a good thing you have us with you, to protect you from 
harm.' 

The horse neighed, and Petru knew what it meant, 
and did not go with his brothers. 

No, he went home to his father, and cured his blind- 
ness; and as for his brothers, they never returned again. 

[ From Rumanische Marchen. ] 



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199 



THE ENCHANTED KNIFE 



Once upon a time there lived a young man who vowed 
that he would never marry any girl who had not royal 
blood in her veins. One day he plucked up all his 
courage and went to the palace to ask the emperor for 
his daughter. The emperor was not much pleased at 
the thought of such a match for his only child, but being 
very polite, he only said : 

' Very well, my son, if you can win the princess you 
shall have her, and the conditions are these. In eight 
days you must manage to tame and bring to me three 
horses that have never felt a master. The first is pure 
white, the second a foxy-red with a black head, the third 
coal black with a white head and feet. And besides that, 
you must also bring as a present to the empress, my wife, 
as much gold as the three horses can carr} T .' 

The young man listened in dismay to these words, 
but with an effort he thanked the emperor for his kind- 
ness and left the palace, wondering how he was to fulfil 
the task allotted to him. Luckily for him, the emperor's 
daughter had overheard everything her father had said, 
and peeping through a curtain had seen the youth, and 
thought him handsomer than anyone she had ever 
beheld. So returning hastily to her own room, she wrote 
him a letter which she gave to a trusty servant to deliver, 
begging her wooer to come to her rooms early the next 
day, and to undertake nothing without her advice, if he 
ever wished her to be his wife. 

That night, when her father was asleep, she crept 



200 THE ENCHANTED KNIFE 

softly into his chamber and took out an enchanted knife 
from the chest where he kept his treasures, and hid it 
carefully in a safe place before she went to bed. 

The sun had hardly risen the following morning when 
the princess's nurse brought the young man to her apart- 
ments. Neither spoke for some minutes, but stood hold- 
ing each other's hands for joy, till at last they both cried 
out that nothing but death should part them. Then the 
maiden said : 

' Take my horse, and ride straight through the wood 
towards the sunset till you come to a hill with three 
peaks. When you get there, turn first to the right and 
then to the left, and you will find yourself in a sun 
meadow, where many horses are feeding. Out of these 
you must pick out the three described to you by my 
father. If they prove shy, and refuse to let you get near 
them, draw out your knife, and let the sun shine on it so 
that the whole meadow is lit up by its rays, and the 
horses will then approach you of their own accord, and 
will let you lead them away. When you have them 
safely, look about till you see a cypress tree, whose roots 
are of brass, whose boughs are of silver, and whose leaves 
are of gold. Go to it, and cut away the roots with your 
knife, and you will come to countless bags of gold. 
Load the horses with all they can carry, and return to 
my father, and tell him that you have done your task, 
and can claim me for your wife.' 

The princess had finished all she had to say, and now 
it depended on the young man to do his part. He hid 
the knife in the folds of his girdle, mounted his horse, 
and rode off in search of the meadow. This he found 
without much difficulty, but the horses were all so shy 
that they galloped away directly he approached them. 
Then he drew his knife, and held it up towards the sun, 
and directly there shone such a glory that the whole 
meadow was bathed in it. From all sides the horses 
rushed pressing round, and each one that passed him 

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She Princess at true curtairv& 



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THE ENCHANTED KNIFE 



203 



fell on its knees to do him honour. But he only chose 
from them all the three that the emperor had describee? 
These he secured by a silken rope to his own horse, ano 




then looked about for the cypress tree. It was standing 
by itself in one corner, and in a moment he was beside 
it, tearing away the earth with his knife. Deeper and 



204 THE ENCHANTED KNIFE 

deeper he dug, till far down, below the roots of brass, his 
knife struck upon the buried treasure, which lay heaped 
up in bags all around. With a great effort he lifted them 
from their hiding place, and laid them one by one on his 
horses' backs, and when they could carry no more he led 
them back to the emperor. And when the emperor saw 
him, he wondered, but never guessed how it was the 
young man had been too clever for him, till the betrothal 
ceremony was over. Then he asked his newly made son- 
in-law what dowry he would require with his bride. To 
which the bridegroom made answer, 4 Noble emperor ! all 
I desire is that I may have your daughter for my wife, 
and enjoy for ever the use of your enchanted knife.' 

[ Volksmarchen der Serben. ] 



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20.5 



JESPER WHO HERDED THE HARES 

There was once a king who ruled over a kingdom some- 
where between sunrise and sunset. It was as small as 
kingdoms usually were in old times, and when the king 
went up to the roof of his palace and took a look round 
he could see to the ends of it in every direction. But as 
it was all his own, he was very proud of it, and often 
wondered how it would get along without him. He had 
only one child, and that was a daughter, so he foresaw 
that she must be provided with a husband who would be 
tit to be king after him. Where to find one rich enough 
and clever enough to be a suitable match for the princess 
was what troubled him, and often kept him awake at 
night. 

At last he devised a plan. He made a proclamation 
over all his kingdom (and asked his nearest neighbours 
to publish it in theirs as well) that whoever could bring 
him a dozen of the finest pearls the king had ever seen, 
and could perform certain tasks that would be set him, 
should have his daughter in marriage and in due time 
succeed to the throne. The pearls, he thought, could 
only be brought by a very wealthy man, and the tasks 
would require unusual talents to accomplish them. 

There were plenty who tried to fulfil the terms which 
the king proposed. Rich merchants and foreign princes 
presented themselves one after the other, so that some 
days the number of them was quite annoying; but, though 
they could all produce magnificent pearls, not one of 
them could perform even the simplest of the tasks set 



206 JESPER WHO HERDED THE HARES 

them. Some turned up, too, who were mere adventurers, 
and tried to deceive the old king with imitation pearls ; but 
he was not to be taken in so easily, and they were soon 
sent about their business. At the end of several weeks the 
stream of suitors began to fall off, and still there was no 
prospect of a suitable son-in-law. 

Now it so happened that in a little corner of the king's 
dominions, beside the sea, there lived a poor fisher, who 
had three sons, and their names were Peter, Paul, and 
Jesper. Peter and Paul were grown men, while Jesper 
was just coming to manhood. The two elder brothers 
were much bigger and stronger than the youngest, but 
Jesper was far the cleverest of the three, though neither 
Peter nor Paul would admit this. It was a fact, however, 
as we shall see in the course of our story. 

One day the fisherman went out fishing, and among 
his catch for the day he brought home three dozen oysters. 
When these were opened, every shell was found to con- 
tain a large and beautiful pearl. Hereupon the three 
brothers, at one and the same moment, fell upon the idea 
of offering themselves as suitors for the princess. After 
some discussion, it was agreed that the pearls should be 
divided by lot, and that each should have his chance in 
the order of his age : of course, if the oldest was suc- 
cessful the other two would be saved the trouble of trying. 
Next morning Peter put his pearls in a little basket, 
and set off for the king's palace. He had not gone far 
on his way when he came upon the King of the Ants 
and the King of the Beetles, who, with their armies 
behind them, were facing each other and preparing for 
battle. 

4 Come and help me,' said the King of the Ants ; l the 
beetles are too big for us. I may help you some day in 
return.' 

i I have no time to waste on other people's affairs/ 
said Peter; 'just fight away as best you can;' and with 
that he walked off and left them. 



JESPER WHO HERDED THE HARES 207 

A little further on the way he met an old woman. 

' Good morning, young man/ said she ; ' you are early 
astir. What have you got in your basket? ' 

k Cinders,' said Peter promptly, and walked on, adding 
to himself, ' Take that for being so inquisitive.' 

* Very well, cinders be it,' the old woman called after 
him, but he pretended not to hear her. 

Very soon he reached the palace, and was at once 
brought before the king. When he took the cover off the 
basket, the king and all his courtiers said with one voice 
that these were the finest pearls they had ever seen, and 
they could not take their eyes off them. But then a 
strange thing happened : the pearls began to lose their 
whiteness and grew quite dim in colour ; then they grew 
blacker and blacker till at last they were just like so 
many cinders. Peter was so amazed that he could say 
nothing for himself, but the king said quite enough for 
both, and Peter was glad to get away home again as fast 
as his legs would carry him. To his father and brothers, 
however, he gave no account of his attempt, except that 
it had been a failure. 

Next day Paul set out to try his luck. He soon came 
upon the King of the Ants and the King of the Beetles, who 
with their armies had encamped on the field of battle 
all night, and were ready to begin the tight again. 

4 Come and help me,' said the King of the Ants; ' we 
got the worst of it yesterday. I may help you some day 
in return.' 

4 I don't care though you get the worst of it to-day 
too,' said Paul. ' I have more important business on 
hand than mixing myself up in your quarrels.' 

So he walked on, and presently the same old woman 
met him. 'Good morning/ said she; 'what have you 
got in your basket? ' 

'Cinders,' said Paul, who was quite as insolent as 
his brother, and quite as anxious to teach other people 
good manners. Oigit 



208 JESPER WHO HERDED THE HARES 

' Very well, cinders be it,' the old woman shouted 
after him, but Paul neither looked back nor answered 
her. He thought more of what she said, however, after 
his pearls also turned to cinders before the eyes of king 
and court: then he lost no time in getting home again, 
and was very sulky when asked how he had succeeded. 

The third day came, and with it came Jesper's turn 
to try his fortune. He got up and had his breakfast, 
while Peter and Paul lay in bed and made rude remarks, 
telling him that he would come back quicker than he 
went, for if they had failed it could not be supposed that 
he would succeed. Jesper made no reply, but put his 
pearls in the little basket and walked off. 

The King of the Ants and the King of the Beetles 
were again marshalling their hosts, but the ants were 
greatly reduced in numbers, and had little hope of holding 
out that day. 

' Come and help us,' said their king to Jesper, ' or we 
shall be completely defeated. I may help you some day 
in return.' 

Now Jesper had alwa} T s heard the ants spoken of as 
clever and industrious little creatures, while he never 
heard anyone say a good word for the beetles, so he 
agreed to give the wished-for help. At the first charge 
he made, the ranks of the beetles broke and fled in 
dismay, and those escaped best that were nearest a 
hole, and could get into it before Jesper's boots came 
down upon them. In a few minutes the ants had the 
field all to themselves ; and their king made quite an 
eloquent speech to Jesper, thanking him for the service 
he had done them, and promising to assist him in any 
difficulty. 

' Just call on me when you want me,' he said, ; where- 
ever you are. I'm never far away from anywhere, and if 
I can possibly help you, I shall not fail to do it.' 

Jesper was inclined to laugh at this, but he kept a 
grave face, said he would remember the offer, and 



JESPER WHO HERDED THE HARES 209 

walked on. At a turn of the road be suddenly came 
upon the old woman. ' Good morning,' said she; ' what 
have you got in your basket? ' 

' Pearls/ said Jesper ; 'I'm going to the palace to win 
the princess with them.' And in case she might not 
believe him, he lifted the cover and let her see them. 

' Beautiful,' said the old woman ; ; very beautiful 
indeed ; but they will go a very little way towards 
winning the princess, unless you can also perform the tasks 
that are set you. However,' she said, 'I see you have 
brought something with you to eat. Won't you give that 
to me : you are sure to get a good dinner at the palace.' 

' Yes, of course,' said Jesper, ; I hadn't thought of 
that ' ; and he handed over the whole of his lunch to the 
old woman. 

He had already taken a few steps on the way again, 
when the old woman called him back. 

'Here,' she said; 'take this whistle in return for 
your lunch. It isn't much to look at, but if you blow 
it, anything that you have lost or that has been taken 
from you will find its way back to you in a moment.' 

Jesper thanked her for the whistle, though he did not 
see of what use it was to be to him just then, and held 
on his way to the palace. 

When Jesper presented his pearls to the king there 
were exclamations of wonder and delight from everyone 
who saw them. It was not pleasant, however, to 
discover that Jesper was a mere fisher-lad ; that wasn't 
the kind of son-in-law that the king had expected, and 
he said so to the queen. 

'Never mind,' said she, ' you can easily set him such 
tasks as he will never be able to perform : we shall soon 
get rid of him.' 

' Yes, of course,' said the king ; ' really I forget 
things nowadays, with all the bustle we have had of 
late.' 

That day Jesper dined with the king and queen and 
u 



210 JESPER WHO HERDED THE HARES 

their nobles, and at night was put into a bedroom 
grander than anything of the kind he had ever seen. It 
was all so new to him that he could not sleep a wink, 
especially as he was always wondering what kind of 
tasks would be set him to do, and whether he would be 
able to perform thern. In spite of the softness of the 
bed, he was very glad when morning came at last. 

After breakfast was over, the king said to Jesper, 
' Just come with me, and Til show you what you must 
do first.' He led him out to the barn, and there in the 
middle of the floor was a large pile of grain. ' Here,' 
said the king, ' you have a mixed heap of wheat, barley, 
oats, and rye, a sackful of each. By an hour before sunset 
you must have these sorted out into four heaps, and if a 
single grain is found to be in a wrong heap you have 
no further chance of marrying my daughter. I shall 
lock the door, so that no one can get in to assist you, 
and I shall return at the appointed time to see how you 
have succeeded.' f ' 

The king walked off, and Jesper looked in despair 
at the task before him. Then he sat down and tried what 
he could do at it, but it was soon very clear that single- 
handed he could never hope to accomplish it in the 
time. Assistance was out of the question — unless, he 
suddenly thought — unless the King of the Ants could 
help. On him he began to call, and before many minutes 
had passed that royal personage made his appearance. 
Jesper explained the trouble he was in. 

i Is that all? ' said the ant; ' we shall soon put that 
to rights.' He gave the royal signal, and in a minute or 
two a stream of ants came pouring into the barn, who 
under the king's orders set to work to separate the grain 
into the proper heaps. 

Jesper watched them for a while, but through the 
continual movement of the little creatures, and his not 
having slept during the previous night, he soon fell 
sound asleep. When he woke again, the king had just 



JESPER WHO HERDED THE HARES 211 

come into the barn, and was amazed to find that not only 
was the task accomplished, but that Jesper had found 
time to take a nap as well. 

' Wonderful, ' said he ; c I couldn't have believed it 
possible. However, the hardest is yet to come, as you 
will see to-morrow.' 

Jesper thought so too when the next da} 7 's task waa 
set before him. The king's gamekeepers had caught a 
hundred live hares, which were to be let loose in a large 
meadow, and there Jesper must herd them all day, and 
bring them safely home in the evening : if even one were 
missing, he must give up all thought of marrying the 
princess. Before he had quite grasped the fact that this 
was an impossible task, the keepers had opened the sacks 
in which the hares were brought to the field, and, with a 
whisk of the short tail and a flap of the long ears, each 
one of the hundred flew in a different direction. 

4 Now,' said the king, as he walked away, 'let's see 
what your cleverness can do here.' 

Jesper stared round him in bewilderment, and having 
nothing better to do with his hands, thrust them into his 
pockets, as he was in the habit of doing. Here he found 
something which turned out to be the whistle given to 
him by the old woman. He remembered what she had 
said about the virtues of the whistle, but was rather 
doubtful whether its powers would extend to a hundred 
hares, each of which had gone in a different direction and 
might be several miles distant by this time. However, 
he blew the whistle, and in a few minutes the hares 
came bounding through the hedge on all the four sides of 
the field, and before long were all sitting round him in a 
circle. After that, Jesper allowed them to run about as 
they pleased, so long as they stayed in the field. 

The king had told one of the keepers to hang about 
for a little and see what became of Jesper, not doubting, 
however, that as soon as he saw the coast clear he would 
use his legs to the best advantage, and never show face at 



212 JESPER WHO HERDED THE HARES 

the palace again. It was therefore with great surprise 
and annoyance that he now learned of the mysterious 
return of the hares and the likelihood of Jesper carrying 
out his task with success. 

' One of thern must be got out of his hands by hook or 
crook, 1 said he. 4 I'll go and see the queen about it ; she's 
good at devising plans.' 

A little later, a girl in a shabby dress came into the 
field and walked up to Jesper. 

' Do give me one of those hares,' she said ; ' we have 
just got visitors who are going to stay to dinner, and 
there's nothing we can give them to eat.' 

'I can't,' said Jesper. 'For one thing, they're not 
mine ; for another, a great deal depends on my having 
them all here in the evening.' 

But the girl (and she was a very prett}^ girl, though so 
shabbily dressed) begged so hard for oue of them that at 
last he said : 

' Very well ; give me a kiss and you shall have one of 
them.' 

He could see that she didn't quite care for this, but 
she consented to the bargain, and gave him the kiss, and 
went away with a hare in her apron. Scarcely had she 
got outside the field, however, when Jesper blew his 
whistle, and immediately the hare wriggled out of its 
prison like an eel, and went back to its master at the top 
of its speed. 

Not long after this the hare-herd had another visit. 
This time it was a stout old woman in the dress of a 
peasant, who also was after a hare to provide a dinner 
for unexpected visitors. Jesper again refused, but the 
old lady was so pressing, and would take no refusal, that 
at last he said : 

' Very well, you shall have a hare, and pay nothing for 
it either, if yon will only walk round me on tiptoe, look 
up to the sky, and cackle like a hen.' 

1 Fie,' said she ; ' what a ridiculous thing to ask anyone 



JESPER WHO HERDED THE HARES 213 

to do ; just think what the neighbours would say if they 
saw me. They would think I had taken leave of my 
senses.' 




</£ *ha*fe fen? a, c ki§§ 



'Just as you like,' said Jesper; 'you know best 
whether } t ou want the hare or not.' 



214 JESPER WHO HERDED THE HARES 

There was no help for it, and a pretty figure the old 
iady made in carrying out her task ; the cackling wasn't 
very well done, but Jesper said it would do, and gave her 
the hare. As soon as she had left the field, the whistle 
was sounded again, and back came long-legs-and-ears at a 
marvellous speed. 

The next to appear on the same errand was a fat old 
fellow in the dress of a groom : it was the royal livery he 
wore, and he plainly thought a good deal of himself. 

4 Young man,' said he, 4 I want one of those hares; 
name your price, but I must have one of them.' 

' All right,' said Jesper ; ' you can have one at an easy 
rate. Just stand on your head, whack your heels 
together, and cry " Hurrah," and the hare is yours.' 

'Eh, what!* said the old fellow; l me stand on my 
head ; what an idea ! ' 

c Oh, very well,' said Jesper, L you needn't unless you 
like, you know; but then you won't get the hare.' 

It went very much against the grain, one could see, 
but after some efforts the old fellow had his head on the 
grass and his heels in the air ; the whacking and the 
6 Hurrah ' were rather feeble, but Jesper was not very 
exacting, and the hare was handed over. Of course, it 
wasn't long in coming back again, like the others. 

Evening came, and home came Jesper with the 
hundred hares behind him. Great was the wonder over 
all the palace, and the king and queen seemed very much 
put out, but it was noticed that the princess actually 
smiled to Jesper. 

i Well, well,' said the king; ' you have done that very 
well indeed. If you are as successful with a little task 
which I shall give you to-morrow we shall consider the 
matter settled, and you shall marry the princess.' 

Next day it was announced that the task would be 
performed in the great hall of the palace, and everyone 
was invited to come and witness it. The king and queen 
sat on their thrones, with the princess beside them, and 



JESPER WHO HERDED THE HARES 215 

the lords and ladies were all round the hall. At a 
sign from the king, two servants carried in a large empty 
tub, which they set down in the open space before the 
throne, and Jesper was told to stand beside it. 

' Now,' said the king, ' you must tell us as many un- 
doubted truths as will fill that tub, or you can't have the 
princess.' 

' But how are we to know when the tub is full ? ' said 
Jesper. 

4 Don't you trouble about that/ said the king ; ' that's 
my part of the business.' 

This seemed to everybody present rather unfair, but no 
one liked to be the first to say so, and Jesper had to put 
the best face he could on the matter, and begin his story. 

' Yesterday,' he said, ' when I was herding the hares, 
there came to me a girl, in a shabby dress, and begged 
me to give her one of them. She got the hare, but she 
had to give me a kiss for it; and that girl teas the 
princess. Isn't that true?' said he, looking at her. 

The princess blushed and looked very uncomfortable, 
but had to admit that it was true. 

4 That hasn't filled much of the tub/ said the king. 
' Go on again.' 

'After that,' said Jesper, 'a stout old woman, in a 
peasant's dress, came and begged for a hare. Before she 
got it, she had to walk round me on tiptoe, turn up her 
eyes, and cackle like a hen ; and that old woman was the 
queen. Isn't that true, now?' 

The queen turned very red and hot, but couldn't deny 
it. 

4 H-m,' said the king ; ' that is something, but the tub 
isn't full yet.' To the queen he whispered, ; I didn't think 
you would be such a fool.' 

' What did you do? ' she whispered in return. 

' Do you suppose I would do any tiling for him? said 
the king, and then hurriedly ordered Jesper to go on. 

4 In the next place,' said Jesper, ' there came a fat old 



216 JESPER WHO HERDED THE HARES 

fellow on the same errand. He was very proud and 
dignified, but in order to get the hare he actually stood on 
his head, whacked his heels together, and cried 

"Hurrah" ; and that old fellow was the ' 

' Stop, stop/ shouted the king ; ' you needn't say another 
word ; the tub is full.' Then all the court applauded, and 
the king and queen accepted Jesper as their son-in- 
law, and the princess was very well pleased, for by this 
time she had quite fallen in love with him, because he 
was so handsome and so clever. When the old king got 
time to think over it, he was quite convinced that his 
kingdom would be safe in Jesper's hands if he looked 
after the people as well as he herded the hares. 

[Scandinavian.] 



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217 



THE UNDERGROUND WORKERS 

On a bitter night somewhere between Christmas and the 
New Year, a man set out to walk to the neighbouring 
village. It was not many miles off, but the snow was so 
thick that there were no roads, or walls, or hedges left to 
guide him, and very soon he lost his way altogether, and 
was glad to get shelter from the wind behind a thick juniper 
tree. Here he resolved to spend the night, thinking that 
when the sun rose he would be able to see his path 
again. 

So he tucked his legs snugly under him like a hedge- 
hog, rolled himself up in his sheepskin, and went to sleep. 
How long he slept, I cannot tell you, but after awhile he 
became aware that some one was gently shaking him, 
while a stranger whispered, 4 My good man, get up ! If 
you lie there any more, you will be buried in the snow, 
and no one will ever know what became of you.' 

The sleeper slowly raised his head from his furs, and 
opened his heavy eyes. Near him stood a long thin man, 
holding in his hand a young fir tree taller than himself. 
c Come with me,' said the man, 'a little way off we have 
made a large fire, and you will rest far better there than 
out upon this moor.' The sleeper did not wait to be 
asked twice, but rose at once and followed the stranger. 
The snow was falling so fast that he could not see three 
steps in front of him, till the stranger waved his staff, 
when the drifts parted before them. Very soon they 
reached a wood, and saw the friendly glow of a fire. 



218 THE UNDERGROUND WORKERS 

'What is your nanie? ; asked the stranger, suddenly 
turning round. 

1 1 am called Hans, the son of Long Hans,' said the 
peasant. 

In front of the lire three men -were sitting clothed in 
white, just as if it was summer, and for about thirty feet 
all round winter had been banished. The moss was dry 
and the plants green, while the grass seemed all alive 
with the hum of bees and cockchafers. But above the 
noise the son of Long Hans could hear the whistling of 
the wind and the crackling of the branches as they fell 
beneath the weight of the snow. 

' Well ! you son of Long Hans, isn't this more 
comfortable than your juniper bush? ' laughed the stranger, 
and for answer Hans replied he could not thank his friend 
enough for having brought him here, and, throwing 
off his sheepskin, rolled it up as a pillow. Then, after 
a hot drink which warmed both their hearts, they lay 
down ou the ground. The stranger talked for a little 
to the other men in a language Hans did not under- 
stand, and after listening for a short time he once more 
fell asleep. 

When he awoke, neither wood nor fire was to be seen, 
and he did not know where he was. He rubbed his eyes, 
and began to recall the events of the night, thinking he 
must have been dreaming ; but for all that, he could not 
make out how he came to be in this place. 

Suddenly a loud noise struck on his ear, and he felt 
the earth tremble beneath his feet. Hans listened for a 
moment, then resolved to go towards the place where the 
sound came from, hoping he might come across some 
human being. He found himself at length at the mouth 
of a rocky cave in which a fire seemed burning. He 
entered, and saw a huge forge, and a crowd of men in 
front of it, blowing bellows and wielding hammers, and 
to each anvil wore seven men, and a set of more comical 
smiths could not be found if v^u searched all the world 




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THE UNDERGROUND WORKERS 221 

through! Their heads were bigger than their little 
bodies, and their hammers twice the size of themselves, 
but the strongest men on earth could not have handled 
their iron clubs more stoutly or given lustier blows. 

The little blacksmiths were clad in leather aprons, 
which covered them from their necks to their feet in 
front, and left their backs naked. On a high stool 
against the wall sat the man with the pine wood staff, 
watching sharply the way the little fellows did their 
work, and near him stood a large can, from which every 
now and then the workers would come and take a drink. 
The master no longer wore the white garments of the day 
before, but a black jerkin, held in its place by a leathern 
girdle with huge clasps. 

From time to time he would give his workmen a sign 
with his staff, for it was useless to speak amid such a 
noise. 

If any of them had noticed that there was a stranger 
present they took no heed of him, but went on with 
what they were doing. After some hours' hard labour 
came the time for rest, and they all flung their hammers 
to the ground and trooped out of the cave. 

Then the master got down from his seat and said to 
Hans: 

4 1 saw you come in, but the work was pressing, and I 
could not stop to speak to you. To-day you must be my 
guest, and I will show you something of the way in 
which I live. Wait here for a moment, while I lay aside 
these dirty clothes.' With these words he unlocked a 
door in the cave, and bade Hans pass in before him. 

Oh, what riches and treasures met Hans' astonished 
eyes! Gold and silver bars lay piled on the floor, and 
glittered so that you could not look at them ! Hans 
thought he would count them for fun, and had already 
reached the five hundred and seventieth when his host 
returned and cried, laughing: 

4 Do not try to count them, it would take too long; 



222 THE UNDERGROUND WORKERS 

choose some of the bars from the heap, as I should like 
to make you a present of them.' 

Hans did not wait to be asked twice, and stooped to 
pick up a bar of gold, but though he put forth all his 
strength he could not even move it with both hands, still 
less lift it off the ground. 

; Why, you have no more power than a flea,' laughed 
the host; 'you will have to content yourself with feasting 
your eyes upon them! ' 

So he bade Hans follow him through other rooms, till 
they entered one bigger than a church, filled, like the 
rest, with gold and silver. Hans wondered to see these 
vast riches, which might have bought all the kingdoms 
of the world, and lay buried, useless, he thought, to any- 
one. 

' What is the reason,' he asked of his guide, ' that you 
gather up these treasures here, where they can do 
good to nobody? If they fell into the hands of men, 
everyone would be rich, and none need work or suffer 
hunger.' 

' And it is exactly for that reason,' answered he, ' that 
I must keep these riches out of their way. The whole 
world would sink to idleness if men were not forced to 
earn their daily bread. It is only through work and care 
that man can ever hope to be good for anything.' 

Hans stared at these words, and at last he begged 
that his host would tell him what use it was to anybody 
that this gold and silver should lie mouldering there, and 
the owner of it be continually trying to increase his 
treasure, which already overflowed his store rooms. 

' I am not really a man,' replied his guide, ' though I 
have the outward form of one, but one of those beings to 
whom is given the care of the world. It is my task and 
that of my workmen to prepare under the earth the gold 
and silver, a small portion of which finds its way every 
year to the upper world, but only just enough to help 
them carry on their business. To none comes wealth 



THE UNDERGliOUND WORKERS 223 

without trouble : we must first dig out the gold and mix 
the grains with earth, clay, and sand. Then, after long and 
hard seeking, it will be found in this state, by those who 
have good luck or much patience. But, my friend, the 
hour of dinner is at hand. If you wish to remain in this 
place, and feast your eyes on this gold, then stay till I 
call you.' 

In his absence Hans wandered from one treasure 
chamber to another, sometimes trying to break off a little 
lump of gold, but never able to do it. After awhile his 
host came back, but so changed that Hans could not 
believe it was really he. His silken clothes were of the 
brightest flame colour, richly trimmed with gold fringes 
and lace ; a golden girdle was round his waist, while his 
head was encircled with a crown of gold, and precious 
stones twinkled about him like stars in a winter's night, 
and in place of his wooden stick he held a finely worked 
golden staff. 

The lord of all this treasure locked the doors and put 
the keys in his pocket, then led Hans into another room, 
where dinner was laid for them. Table and seats were 
all of silver, while the dishes and plates were of solid 
gold. Directly they sat down, a dozen little servants 
appeared to wait on them, which they did so cleverly and 
so quickly that Hans could hardly believe they had no 
wings. As they did not reach as high as the table, they 
were often obliged to jump and hop right on to the top 
to get at the dishes. Everything was new to Hans, and 
though he was rather bewildered he enjoyed himself 
very much, especially when the man with the golden 
crown began to tell him many things he had never heard 
of before. 

' Between Christmas and the New Year/ said he, ' I 
often amuse myself by wandering about the earth watch- 
ing the doings of men and learning something about 
them. But as far as I have seen and heard I cannot 
speak well of them. The greater part of them are 



224 THE UNDERGROUND WORKERS 

always quarrelling and complaining of each other's 
faults, while nobody thinks of his own.' 

Hans tried to deny the truth of these words, but he 
could not do it, and sat silent, hardly listening to what his 
friend was saying. Then he went to sleep in his chair, and 
knew nothing of what was happening. 

Wonderful dreams came to him during his sleep, 
where the bars of gold continually hovered before his eyes. 
He felt stronger than he had ever felt during his waking 
moments, and lifted two bars quite easil}' on to his back. 
He did this so often that at length his strength seemed 
exhausted, and he sank almost breathless on the ground 
Then he heard the sound of cheerful voices, and the song 
of the blacksmiths as they blew their bellows — he even 
felt as if he saw the sparks flashing before his eyes. 
Stretching himself, he awoke slowly, and here he was in 
the green forest, and instead of the glow of the lire in the 
underworld the sun was streaming on him, and he sat up 
wondering why he felt so strange. 

At length his memory came back to him, and as he 
called to mind all the wonderful things he had seen he 
tried in vain to make them agree with those that happen 
every day. After thinking it over till he was nearly mad, 
he tried at last to believe that one night between Christmas 
and the New Year he had met a stranger in the forest, 
and had slept all night in his company before a big fire ; 
the next day they had dined together, and had drunk a 
great deal more than was good for them — in short, he 
had spent two whole days revelling with another man. 
But here, with the full tide of summer around him, he 
could hardly accept his own explanation, and felt that he 
must have been the plaything or sport of some magician. 

Near him, in the full sunlight, were the traces of a 
dead fire, and when he drew close to it he saw that what 
he had taken for ashes was really fine silver dust, and 
that the half burnt firewood was made of gold. 

Oh, how lucky Hans thought himself; but where 



THE UNDERGROUND WORKERS 225 

should he get a sack to carry his treasure home before 
anyone else found it? But necessity is the mother of 
invention : Hans threw off his fur coat, gathered up the 
silver ashes so carefully in it that none remained behind, 
laid the gold sticks on top, and tied up the bag thus 
made with his girdle, so that nothing should fall out. 
The load was not, in point of fact, very heavy, although 
it seemed so to his imagination, and he moved slowly 
along till he found a safe hiding-place for it. 

In this way Hans suddenly became rich — rich enough 
to buy a property of his own. But being a prudent man, 
he finally decided that it would be best for him to leave 
his old neighbourhood and look for a home in a distant 
part of the country, where nobody knew anything about 
him. It did not take him long to find what he wanted, 
and after he had paid for it there was plenty of money 
left over. When he was settled, he married a pretty girl 
who lived near by, and had some children, to whom on 
his death-bed he told the story of the lord of the under- 
world, and how he had made Hans rich. 

[ Ehstnische M'archen.] 



Digitized by Microsoft ® 



226 



THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 



It is a great mistake to think that fairies, witches, 
magicians, and such people lived only in Eastern countries 
and in such times as those of the Caliph Haroun Al- 
Raschid. Fairies and their like belong to every country 
and every age, and no doubt we should see plenty of them 
now — if we only knew how. 

In a large town in Germany there lived, some couple 
of hundred years ago, a cobbler and his wife. They were 
poor and hard-working. The man sat all day in a little 
stall at the street corner and mended any shoes that were 
brought him. His wife sold the fruit and vegetables they 
grew in their garden in the Market Place, and as she was 
always neat and clean and her goods were temptingly 
spread out she had plenty of customers. 

The couple had one boy called Jem. A handsome, 
pleasant-faced boy of twelve, and tall for his age. He 
used to sit by his mother in the market and would carry 
home what people bought from her, for which they often 
gave him a pretty flower, or a slice of cake, or even some 
small coin. 

One day Jem and his mother sat as usual in the 
Market Place with plenty of nice herbs and vegetables 
spread out on the board, and in some smaller baskets 
early pears, apples, and apricots. Jem cried his wares at 
the top of his voice : 

' This way, gentlemen ! See these lovely cabbages and 
these fresh herbs! Early apples, ladies; early pears and 
apricots, and all cheap. Come, buy, buy ! ' 



THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 227 

As he cried an old woman came across the Market 
Place. She looked very torn and ragged, and had a small 
sharp face, all wrinkled, with red eyes, and a thin hooked 
nose which nearly met her chin. She leant on a tall 
stick and limped and shuttled and stumbled along as if 
she were going to fall on her nose at any moment. 

In this fashion she came along till she got to the stall 
where Jem and his mother were, and there she stopped. 

'Are you Hannah the herb seller?' she asked in a 
croaky voice as her head shook to and fro. 

' Yes, I am,' w T as the answer. 'Can I serve you?' 

' We'll see ; we'll see ! Let me look at those herbs. 
T wonder if you've got what I w r ant,' said the old woman 
as she thrust a pair of hideous brown hands into the herb 
basket, and began turning over all the neatly packed 
herbs with her skinny fingers, often holding them up to 
her nose and sniffing at them. 

The cobbler's wife felt much disgusted at seeing 
her wares treated like this, but she dared not speak. 
When the old hag had turned over the whole basket she 
muttered, 'Bad stuff, bad stuff; much better fifty years 
ago — all bad.' 

This made Jem very angry. 

; You are a very rude old woman,' he cried out. 
1 First you mess all our nice herbs about with your horrid 
brown fingers and sniff at them with your long nose till 
no one else will care to buy them, and then you sa}' it's 
all bad stuff, though the duke's cook himself buys all his 
herbs from us.' 

The old woman looked sharply at the saucy boy, 
laughed unpleasantly, and said : 

'So you don't like my long nose, sonny? Well, you 
shall have one yourself, right down to your chin.' 

As she spoke she shuttled towards the hamper of 
cabbages, took up one after another, squeezed them 
hard, and threw them back, muttering again, ' Bad stuff, 
bad stufiV 



228 THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 



4 Don't waggle your head in that horrid way,' begged 
Jem anxiously. 4 Your neck is as thin as a cabbage-stalk, 
and it might easily break and your head fall into the 
basket, and then who would buy anything ? ' 

4 Don't you like thin necks?' laughed the old woman. 
4 Then you sha'n't have any, but a head stuck close 
between } T our shoulders so that it may be quite sure not 
to fall off/ 




4 Don't talk such nonsense to the child,* said the 
mother at last. 4 If you wish to buy, please make haste, 
as you are keeping other customers away.' 

4 Very well, I will do as you ask,' said the old woman, 
with an angry look. i I will buy these six cabbages, but, 
as you see, I can only walk with my stick and can carry 
nothing. Let your boy carry them home for me and I'll 
pay him for his trouble.' 

The little fellow didn't like this, and began to cry, for 



THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 229 

he was afraid of the old woman, but his mother ordered 
him to go, for she thought it wrong not to help such a 
weakly old creature ; so, still crying, he gathered the 
cabbages into a basket and followed the old woman 
across the Market Place. 

It took her more than half an hour to get to a distant 
part of the little town, but at last she stopped in front of 
a small tumble-down house. She drew a rusty old hook 
from her pocket and stuck it into a little hole in the door, 
which suddenly flew open. How surprised Jem was 
when they went in ! The house was splendidly furnished, 
the walls and ceiling of marble, the furniture of ebony 
inlaid with gold and precious stones, the floor of such 
smooth slippery glass that the little fellow tumbled down 
more than once. 

The old woman took out a silver whistle and blew it 
till the sound rang- through the house. Immediately a 
lot of guinea pigs came running down the stairs, but Jem 
thought it rather odd that they all walked on their hind 
legs, wore nutshells for shoes, and men's clothes, wiiilst 
even their hats were put on in the newest fashion. 

4 Where are my slippers, lazy crew?' cried the old 
woman, and hit about with her stick. 'How long am 
I to stand waiting here ? ' 

They rushed upstairs again and returned with a pair 
of cocoa nuts lined with leather, which she put on her 
feet. Now all limping and shuffling was at an end. 
She threw away her stick and walked briskly across 
the glass floor, drawing little Jem after her. At last she 
paused in a room which looked almost like a kitchen, 
it was so full of pots and pans, but the tables were of 
mahogany and the sofas and chairs covered with the 
richest stuffs. 

1 Sit down,' said the old woman pleasantly, and she 
pushed Jem into a corner of a sofa and put a table close 
in front of him. ' Sit down, you've had a long walk and 
a heavy load to carry, and I must give you something for 



230 THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 

your trouble. Wait a bit, and I'll give you some nice 
soup, which you'll remember as long as you live.' 

So saying, she whistled again. First came in guinea 
pigs in men's clothing. They had tied on large kitchen 
aprons, and in their belts were stack carving knives and 
sauce ladles and such things. After them hopped in a 
number of squirrels. They too walked on their hind legs, 
wore full Turkish trousers, and little green velvet caps on 
their heads. They seemed to be the scullions, for they 
clambered up the walls and brought down pots and pans, 
eggs, flour, butter, and herbs, which they carried to the 
stove. Here the old woman was bustling about, and Jem 
could see that she was cooking something very special for 
him. At last the broth began to bubble and boil, and she 
drew off the saucepan and poured its contents into a 
silver bowl, which she set before Jem. 

4 There, my boy,' said she, ' eat this soup and then 
you'll have everything which pleased you so much about 
me. And you shall be a clever cook too, but the real 
herb — no, the real herb you'll never find. Why had 
your mother not got it in her basket? ' 

The child could not think what she was talking about, 
but he quite understood the soup, which tasted most 
delicious. His mother had often given him nice things, 
but nothing had ever seemed so good as this. The smell 
of the herbs and spices rose from the bowl, and the soup 
tasted both sweet and sharp at the same time, and was 
very strong. As he was finishing it the guinea pigs lit 
some Arabian incense, which gradually filled the room 
with clouds of blue vapour. They grew thicker and 
thicker and the scent nearly overpowered the boy. He 
reminded himself that he must get back to his mother, 
but whenever he tried to rouse himself to go he sank 
back again drowsily, and at last he fell sound asleep in the 
corner of the sofa. 

Strange dreams came to him. He thought the old 
woman took off all his clothes and wrapped him up in a 



THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 231 

squirrel skin, and that he went about with the other 
squirrels and guinea pigs, who were all very pleasant and 
well mannered, and waited on the old woman. First he 
learned to clean her cocoa-nut shoes with oil and to rub 
them up. Then he learnt to catch the little sun moths 
and rub them through the finest sieves, and the Hour from 
them he made into soft bread for the toothless old 
woman. 

In this way he passed from one kind of service to 
another, spending a year in each, till in the fourth year 
he was promoted to the kitchen. Here he worked his 
way up from under-scullion to head-pastrycook, and 
reached the greatest perfection. He could make all the 
most difficult dishes, and two hundred different kinds of 
patties, soup flavoured with every sort of herb — he had 
learnt it all, and learnt it well and quickly. 

When he had lived seven years with the old woman 
she ordered him one day, as she was going out, to kill 
and pluck a chicken, stuff it with herbs, and have it very 
nicely roasted by the time she got back. He did this 
quite according to rule. He wrung the chicken's neck, 
plunged it into boiling water, carefully plucked out all the 
feathers, and rubbed the skin nice and smooth. Then he 
went to fetch the herbs to stuff it with. In the store- 
room he noticed a half-opened cupboard which he did not 
remember having seen before. He peeped in and saw a 
lot of baskets from which came a strong and pleasant 
smell. He opened one and found a very uncommon 
herb in it. The stems and leaves were a bluish green, 
and above them was a little flower of a deep bright red, 
edged with yellow. He gazed at the flower, smelt it, and 
found it gave the same strong strange perfume which 
came from the soup the old woman had made him. But 
the smell was so sharp that he began to sneeze again and 
again, and at last — he woke up ! 

There he lay on the old woman's sofa and stared about 
him in surprise. ; Well, what odd dreams one does have 



232 THE HISTORY OF DWAEF LONG NOSE 

to be sure ! ' he said to himself. ; Why, I could have 
sworn I had been a squirrel, a companion of guinea pigs 
and such creatures, and had become a great cook, too. 
How mother will laugh when I tell her ! But won't she 
scold me, though, for sleeping away here in a strange 
house, instead of helping her at market ! ' 

He jumped up and prepared to go : all his limbs still 
seemed quite stiff with his long sleep, especially his neck, 
for he could not move his head easily, and he laughed at 
his own stupidity at being still so drowsy that he kept 
knocking his nose against the wall or cupboards. The 
squirrels and guinea pigs ran whimpering after him, as 
though they would like to go too, and he begged them to 
come when he reached the door, but they all turned and 
ran quickly back into the house again. 

The part of the town was out of the way, and Jem 
did not know the many narrow streets in it and was 
puzzled by their windings and by the crowd of people, 
who seemed excited about some show. From what 
he heard, he fancied they were going to see a dwarf, for 
he heard them call out: ; Just look at the ugly dwarf!' 
' What a long nose he has, and see how his head 
is stuck in between his shoulders, and only look at 
his ugly brown hands ! ' If he had not been in such 
a hurry to get back to his mother, he would have gone 
too, for he loved shows with giants and dwarfs and the 
like. 

He was quite puzzled when he reached the market- 
place. There sat his mother, with a good deal of fruit 
still in her baskets, so he felt he could not have slept so 
very long, but it struck him that she was sad, for she did 
not call to the passers-by, but sat with her head resting 
on her hand, and as he came nearer he thought she 
looked paler than usual. 

He hesitated what to do, but at last he slipped behind 
her, laid a hand on her arm, and said : l Mammy, what's 
the matter? Are. you angry with me?' 



THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 233 

She turned round quickly and jumped up with a cry 
of horror. 

i What do you want, you hideous dwarf? ' she cried; 
'get away ; I can't bear such tricks.' 

' But, mother dear, what's the matter with you?' 




repeated Jem, quite frightened. ' You can't be well. 
Why do you want to drive your son away?' 

' I have said already, get away,' replied Hannah, 
quite angrily. ' You won't get anything out of me by your 
games, you monstrosity.' 



234 THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 

6 Oh dear, oh dear ! she must be wandering in her 
mind, ; murmured the lad to himself. ' How can I 
manage to get her home? Dearest mother, do look at 
me close. Can't you see I am your own son Jem?' 

'Well, did you ever hear such impudence?' asked 
Hannah, turning to a neighbour. ' Just see that frightful 
dwarf — would you believe that he wants me to think 
he is my son Jem ? ' 

Then all the market women came round and talked all 
together and scolded as hard as they could, and said what 
a shame it was to make game of Mrs. Hannah, who had 
never got over the loss of her beautiful boy, who had been 
stolen from her seven years ago, and they threatened to fall 
upon Jem and scratch him well if he did not go away at 
once. 

Poor Jem did not know what to make of it all. He 
was sure he had gone to market with his mother only 
that morning, had helped to set out the stall, had gone 
to the old woman's house, where he had some soup and 
a little nap, and now, when he came back, they were all 
talking of seven years. And they called him a horrid 
dwarf! Why, what had happened to him? When he 
found that his mother would really have nothing to 
do with him he turned away w r ith tears in his eyes, 
and went sadly down the street towards his father's 
stall. 

' Now I'll see whether he will know me/ thought he. 
Til stand by the door and talk to him.' 

When he got to the stall he stood in the doorway and 
looked in. The cobbler was so busy at work that he did 
not see him for some time, but, happening to look up, he 
caught sight of his visitor, and letting shoes, thread, and 
everything fall to the ground, he cried with horror : 
'Good heavens! what is that?' 

' Good evening, master,' said the boy, as he stepped in. 
' How do you do? ' 

' Very ill, little sir,' replied the father, to Jem's 



THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 235 

surprise, for he did not seem to know him. ' Business 
does not go well. I am all alone, and am getting old, and 
a workman is costly.' 

' But haven't you a son who could learn your trade by 
degrees? ' asked Jem. 

' I had one : he was called Jem, and would have 
been a tall sturdy lad of twenty by this time, and able 
to help me well. Why, when he was only twelve he 
was quite sharp and quick, and had learnt many little 
things, and a good-looking boy too, and pleasant, so that 
customers were taken by him. Well, well! so goes the 
world ! * 

4 But where is your son ? ' asked Jem, with a 
trembling voice. 

c Heaven only knows ! ' replied the man ; ' seven 
years ago he was stolen from the market-place, and we 
have heard no more of him.' 

4 Seven years ago ! ' cried Jem, with horror. 

4 Yes, indeed, seven years ago, though it seems but 
yesterday that my wife came back howling and crying, 
and saying the child had not come back all day. I 
always thought and said that something of the kind 
would happen. Jem was a beautiful boy, and everyone 
made much of him, and my wife was so proud of him, and 
liked him to carry the vegetables and things to grand 
folks' houses, where he was petted and made much of. 
But I used to say, " Take care — the town is large, there 
are plenty of bad people in it — keep a sharp eye on Jem/' 
And so it happened ; for one day an old woman came and 
bought a lot of things — more than she could carry; so my 
wife, being a kindly soul, lent her the boy, and — we have 
never seen him since.* 

4 And that was seven years ago, you say?' 

; Yes, seven years : we had him cried — we went from 
house to house. Many knew the pretty boy, and were 
fond of him, but it was all in vain. JS T o one seemed to 
know the old woman who bought the vegetables either ; 



236 THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 

only one old woman, who is ninety years old, said it 
might have been the fairy Herbaline, who came into the 
town once in every fifty years to buy things.' 

As his father spoke, things grew clearer to Jem's mind, 
f*nd he saw now that he had not been dreaming, but had 
really served the old woman seven years in the shape of 
a squirrel. As he thought it over rage filled his heart. 
Seven years of his youth had been stolen from him, and 
what had he got in return? To learn to rub up cocoa 
nuts, and to polish glass floors, and to be taught cooking 
by guinea pigs ! He stood there thinking, till at last his 
father asked him : 

4 Is there anything I can do for you, young gentle- 
man? Shall I make you a pair of slippers, or perhaps' — 
with a smile — c a case for your nose?' 

'What have you to do with my nose?' asked Jem. 
6 And why should I want a case for it?' 

' Well, everyone to his taste,' replied the cobbler ; c but 
I must say if I had such a nose I would have a nice red 
leather cover made for it. Here is a nice piece ; and 
think what a protection it would be to you. As it is, you 
must be constantly knocking up against things.' 

The lad was dumb with fright. He felt his nose. It 
was thick, and quite two hands long. So, then the old 
woman had changed his shape, and that was why his 
own mother did not know him, and called him a horrid 
dwarf! 

' Master,' said he, ' have you got a glass that I could 
see myself in? ' 

'Young gentleman,' was the answer, 'your appear- 
ance is hardly one to be vain of, and there is no need to 
waste your time looking in a glass. Besides, I have none 
here, and if you must have one you had better ask 
Urban the barber, who lives over the way, to lend you his. 
Good morning.' 

So saying, he gently pushed Jem into the street, shut 
the door, and went back to his work. 



THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 237 

Jem stepped across to the barber, whom he had known 
in old days. 

'Good morning, Urban,' said he; 'may I look at 
myself in your glass for a moment?' 

4 With pleasure,' said the barber, laughing, and all 
the people in his shop fell to laughing also. ' You are a 
pretty youth, with your swan-like neck and white hands 
and small nose. No wonder you are rather vain ; but 
^ook as long as you like at yourself/ 

So spoke the barber, and a titter ran round the room. 
Meantime Jem had stepped up to the mirror, and stood 
gazing sadly at his reflection. Tears came to his eyes. 

4 No wonder you did not know your child again, dear 
mother,' thought he; c he wasn't like this when you were 
so proud of his looks.' 

His eyes had grown quite small, like pigs' eyes, his 
nose was huge and hung down over his mouth and chin, 
his throat seemed to have disappeared altogether, and 
his head was fixed stifily between his shoulders. He was 
no taller than he had been seven years ago, when he was 
not much more than twelve years old, but he made up in 
breadth, and his back and chest had grown into lumps 
like two great sacks. His legs were small and spindly, 
but his arms were as large as those of a well-grown man, 
with large brown hands, and long skinny fingers. 

Then he remembered the morning when he had first 
seen the old woman, and her threats to him, and without 
saying a word he left the barber's shop. 

He determined to go again to his mother, and found 
her still in the market-place. He begged her to listen 
quietly to him, and he reminded her of the day when he 
went away with the old woman, and of many things in 
his childhood, and told her how the fairy had bewitched 
him, and he had served her seven } T ears. Hannah did 
not know what to think — the story was so strange ; and 
it seemed impossible to think her pretty boy and this 
hideous dwarf were the same. At last she decided to go 



238 THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG JSTOSE 

and talk to her husband about it. She gathered up hei 
baskets, told Jern to follow her, and went straight to the 
cobbler's stall. 

' Look here,' said she, ' this creature says he is our lost 
son. He has been telling me how he was stolen seven 
years ago, and bewitched by a fairy.' 

4 Indeed ! ; interrupted the cobbler angrily. ' Did he 
tell you this? Wait a minute, you rascal! Why I told 
him all about it myself only an hour ago, and then he 
goes off to humbug you. So you were bewitched, my 
son were you ? Wait a bit, and I'll bewitch you ! ' 

So saying, he caught up a bundle of straps, and hit 
out at Jem so hard that he ran off crying. 

The poor little dwarf roamed about all the rest of the 
day without food or drink, and at night was glad to lie 
down and sleep on the steps of a church. He woke next 
morning with the first rays of light, and began to thiuk 
what he could do to earn a living. Suddenly he remem- 
bered that he was an excellent cook, and he determined 
to look out for a place. 

As soon as it was quite daylight he set out for the 
palace, for he knew that the grand duke who reigned over 
the country was fond of good things. 

When he reached the palace all the servants crowded 
about him, and made fun of him, and at last their shouts 
and laughter grew so loud that the head steward rushed 
out, crying, 4 For goodness sake, be quiet, can't you. 
Don't you know his highness is still asleep? 7 

Some of the servants ran off at once, and others 
pointed out Jem. Indeed, the steward found it hard to 
keep himself from laughing at the comic sight, but he 
ordered the servants off and led the dwarf into his own 
room. 

When he heard him ask for a place as cook, he said : 
4 You make some mistake, my lad. I think you want to 
be the grand duke's dwarf, don't you? ' 

4 No, sir,' replied Jem. ' I am an experienced cook, 



THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 230 

and if you will kindly take me to the bead cook he may 
find me of some use.' 

' Well, as you will ; but believe me, you would have an 
easier place as the grand ducal dwarf.' 

So saying, the head steward led him to the head cook's 
room. 

1 Sir,' asked Jem, as he bowed till his nose nearly 
touched the floor, ' do you want an experienced cook ? ' 

The head cook looked him over from head to foot, and 
burst out laughing. 

' You a cook ! Do you suppose our cooking stoves 
are so low that you can look into any saucepan on them? 
Oh, my dear little fellow, whoever sent you to me wanted 
to make fun of you.' 

But the dwarf was not to be put off. 

'What matters an extra egg or two, or a little butter or 
flour and spice more or less, in such a house as this?' 
said he. ' Name any dish you wish to have cooked, and 
give me the materials I ask for, and you shall see.' 

He said much more, and at last persuaded the head 
cook to give him a trial. 

They went into the kitchen — a huge place with at 
least twenty fireplaces, always alight. A little stream of 
clear water ran through the room, and live fish were kept 
at one end of it. Everything in the kitchen was of the 
best and most beautiful kind, and swarms of cooks and 
scullions were busy preparing dishes. 

When the head cook came in with Jem everyone stood 
quite still. 

4 What has his highness ordered for luncheon?' asked 
the head cook. 

' Sir, his highness has graciously ordered a Danish 
soup and red Hamburg dumplings.' 

6 Good,' said the head cook. ' Have you heard, and 
do you feel equal to making these dishes ? Not that you 
will be able to make the dumplings, for they are a secret 
receipt.' 



240 THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 

i Is that all ! ' said Jem, who had often made both 
dishes. 'Nothing easier. Let me have some eggs, a 
piece of wild boar, and such and such roots and herbs 
for the soup ; and as for the dumplings,' he added in a 
low voice to the head cook, ' I shall want four different 
kinds of meat, some wine, a duck's marrow, some ginger, 
and a herb called heal-well/ 

' Why,' cried the astonished cook, ' where did you 
learn cooking? Yes, those are the exact materials, but 
we never used the herb heal-well, which, I am sure, must 
be an improvement.' 

And now Jem was allowed to try his hand. He 
could not nearly reach up to the kitchen range, but by 
putting a wide plank on two chairs he managed very 
well. All the cooks stood round to look on, and could 
not help admiring the quick, clever way in which he set 
to work. At last, when all was ready, Jem ordered the 
two dishes to be put on the fire till he gave the word. 
Then he began to count : ' One, two, three,' till he got to 
five hundred when he cried, ' Now ! ' The saucepans were 
taken off, and he invited the head cook to taste. 

The first cook took a golden spoon, washed and 
wiped it, and handed it to the head cook, who solemnly 
approached, tasted the dishes, and smacked his lips over 
them. ' First rate, indeed ! ' he exclaimed. ; You certainly 
are a master of the art, little fellow, and the herb heal- well 
gives a particular relish.' 

As he was speaking, the duke's valet came to say that 
his highness was ready for luncheon, and it was served 
at once in silver dishes. The head cook took Jem to his 
own room, but had hardly had time to question him before 
he was ordered to go at once to the grand duke. He 
hurried on his best clothes and followed the messenger. 

The grand duke was looking much pleased. He had 
emptied the dishes, and was wiping his mouth as the head 
cook came in. ; Who cooked my luncheon to-day ? ' 
asked he. fc I must say your dumplings are always very 



THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 241 

good ; but I don't think I ever tasted anything so delicious 
as they were to-day. AVho made them?' 

4 It is a strange story, your highness,' said the 
cook, and told him the whole matter, which surprised 
the duke so much that he sent for the dwarf and asked 
him many questions. Of course, Jem could not say 
he had been turned into a squirrel, but he said he was 
without parents and had been taught cooking by an old 
woman. 

4 If you will stay with me/ said the grand duke, 
4 you shall have fifty ducats a year, besides a new coat 
and a couple of pairs of trousers. You must undertake 
to cook my luncheon yourself and to direct what I shall 
have for dinner, and you shall be called assistant head 
cook.' 

Jem bowed to the ground, and promised to obey his 
new master in all things. 

He lost no time in setting to work, and everyone 
rejoiced at having him in the kitchen, for the duke was 
not a patient man, and had been known to throw plates 
and dishes at his cooks and servants if the things served 
were not quite to his taste. Now all was changed. He 
never even grumbled at anything, had five meals instead 
of three, thought everything delicious, and grew fatter 
daily. 

And so Jem lived on for two years, much respected 
and considered, and only saddened when he thought of 
his parents. One day passed much like another till the 
following incident happened. 

Dwarf Long Nose — as he was always called — made 
a practice of doing his marketing as much as possible 
himself, and whenever time allowed went to the market 
to buy his poultry and fruit. One morning he was in the 
goose market, looking for some nice fat geese. No one 
thought of laughing at his appearance now ; he was 
known as the duke's special body cook, and every goose- 
woman felt honoured if his nose turned her way. 
16 



242 THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 

He noticed one woman sitting apart with a number of 
geese, but not crying or praising them like the rest. He 
went up to her, felt and weighed her geese, and, finding 
them very good, bought three and the cage to put them in, 
hoisted them on his broad shoulders, and set off on his 
way back. 

As he went, it struck him that two of the geese were 
gobbling and screaming as geese do, but the third sat 
quite still, only heaving a deep sigh now and then, like a 
human being. ' That goose is ill,' said he ; ' I must make 
haste to kill and dress her.' 

But the goose answered him quite distinctly : 

' Squeeze too tight 
And 111 bite, 

If my neck a twist you gave 
I'd bring you to an early grave.' 

Quite frightened, the dwarf set down the cage, and the 
goose gazed at him with sad wise-looking eyes and sighed 
again. 

4 Good gracious ! ' said Long Nose. ' So you can 
speak, Mistress Goose. I never should have thought it ! 
Well, don't be anxious. I know better than to hurt so 
rare a bird. But I could bet you were not always in 
this plumage — wasn't I a squirrel myself for a time? ' 

' You are right,' said the goose, ' in supposing I was 
not born in this horrid shape. Ah ! no one ever thought 
that Mimi, the daughter of the great Weatherbold, would 
be killed for the ducal table.' 

'Be quite easy, Mistress Mimi,' comforted Jem. ' As 
sure as I'm an honest man and assistant head cook to 
his highness, no one shall harm you. I will make a 
hutch for you in my own rooms, and you shall be well fed, 
and I'll come and talk to you as much as I can. I'll tell 
all the other cooks that I am fattening up a goose on very 
special food for the grand duke, and at the first good 
opportunity I will set you free.' 



THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE* 243 

The goose thanked him with tears in her eyes, and the 
dwarf kept his word. lie killed the other two geese tor 
dinner, bat built a little shed for Mirni in one of his rooms, 
under the pretence of fattening her under his own eye. 
He spent all his spare time talking to her and comforting 
her, and fed her on all the dantiest dishes. They confided 
their histories to each other, and Jem learnt that the goose 
was the daughter of the wizard Weatherbold, who lived on 
the island of Gothland. He fell out with an old fairy, 
who got the better of him by cunning and treachery, and 
to revenge herself turned his daughter into a goose and 
carried her off to this distant place. When Long Nose 
told her his story she said : 

' I know a little of these matters, and what you say 
shows me that you are under a herb enchantment — that is 
to say, that if you can find the herb whose smell woke 
you up the spell would be broken/ 

This was but small comfort for Jem, for how and 
where was he to find the herb? 

About this time the grand duke had a visit from a 
neighbouring prince, a friend of his. He sent for Long 
Nose and said to him : 

' Now is the time to show what you can really do. 
This prince who is staying with me has better dinners 
than any one except myself, and is a great judge of 
cooking. As long as he is here you must take care that 
my table shall be served in a manner to surprise him 
constantly. At the same time, on pain of my displeasure, 
take care that no dish shall appear twice. Get every- 
thing you wish and spare nothing. If you w T ant to melt 
down gold and precious stones, do so. I would rather be 
a poor man than have to blush before him.' 

The dwarf bowed and answered : 

' Your highness shall be obeyed. I will do all in my 
power to please you and the prince.' 

From this time the little cook was hardly seen except 
in the kitchen, where, surrounded by his helpers, he gave 



244 THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 

orders, baked, stewed, flavoured and dished up all inanne* 
of dishes. 

The prince had been a fortnight with the grand duke, 
and enjoyed himself mightily. They ate five times a day, 
and the duke had every reason to be content with the 
dwarf's talents, for he saw how pleased his guest looked. 
On the fifteenth day the duke sent for the dwarf and 
presented him to the prince. 

1 You are a wonderful cook/ said the prince, fc and you 
certainly know what is good. All the time I have been 
here you have never repeated a dish, and all were excel- 
lent. But tell me why you have never served the queen 
of all dishes, a Suzeraine Pasty?' 

The dwarf felt frightened, for he had never heard of 
this Queen of Pasties before. But he did not lose his 
presence of mind, and replied: 

4 1 have waited, hoping that your highness' visit here 
would last some time, for I proposed to celebrate the 
last day of your stay with this truly royal dish.' 

' Indeed,' laughed the grand duke ; ' then I suppose 
you would have waited for the day of my death to treat 
me to it, for you have never sent it up to me yet. How- 
ever, you will have to invent some other farewell dish, for 
the pasty must be on my table to-morrow.' 

'As your highness pleases,' said the dwarf, and took 
leave. 

But it did not please him at all. The moment of 
disgrace seemed at hand, for he had no idea how to make 
this pasty. He went to his rooms very sad. As he sat 
there lost in thought the goose Mimi, who was left free to 
walk about, came up to him and asked what was the 
matter? When she heard she said: 

' Cheer up, my friend. I know the dish quite well: we 
often had it at home, and I can guess pretty well how it 
was made.' Then she told him what to put in, adding: 
' T think that will be all right, and if some trifle is left out 
perhaps they won't find it out.' 



THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG XOSE 245 

Sure enough, next day a magnificent pasty al. 
wreathed round with flowers was placed on the table. 
Jem himself put on his best clothes and went into the 
dining hall. As he entered the head carver was in the 
act of cutting up the pie and helping the duke and his 
guests. The grand duke took a large mouthful and 
threw up his eyes as he swallowed it. 

' Oh ! oh ! this may well be called the Queen of 
Pasties, and at the same time my dwarf must be called 
the king of cooks. Don't you think so, dear friend?' 

The prince took several small pieces, tasted and 
examined carefully, and then said with a mysterious and 
sarcastic smile : 

' The dish is very nicely made, but the Suzeraine is 
not quite complete — as I expected.' 

The grand duke flew into a rage. 

' Dog of a cook,' he shouted ; ' how dare you serve me 
so? I've a good mind to chop off your great head as a 
punishment.' 

; For mercy's sake, don't, your highness ! I made the 
pasty according to the best rules ; nothing has been left 
out. Ask the prince what else I should have put in.' 

The prince laughed. ' I was sure you could not make 
this dish as well as my cook, friend Long Nose. Know, 
then, that a herb is wanting called Relish, which is 
not known in this country, but which gives the pasty its 
peculiar flavour, and without which your master will 
never taste it to perfection.' 

The grand duke was more furious than ever. 

' But I will taste it to perfection,' he roared. ' Either 
the pasty must be made properly to-morrow or this 
rascal's head shall come off. Go, scoundrel, I give you 
twenty-four hours' respite.' 

The poor dwarf hurried back to his room, and poured 
out his grief to the goose. 

' Oh, is that all,' said she, ; then I can help you, for 
my father taught me to know all plants and herbs. 



246 THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 

Luckily this is a new moon just now, for the herb only 
springs up at such times. But tell me, are there chestnut 
trees near the palace ? ' 

1 Oh, yes ! ' cried Long Nose, much relieved ; ' near 
the lake — only a couple of hundred yards from the palace 
— is a large clump of them. But why do you ask? ' 

' Because the herb only grows near the roots of chestnut 
trees/ replied Mimi ; ' so let us lose no time in finding it. 
Take me under your arm and put me down out of doors, 
and I'll hunt for it/ 

He did as she bade, and as soon as they were in the 
garden put her on the ground, when she waddled off as 
fast as she could towards the lake, Jem hurrying after 
her with an anxious heart, for he knew that his life de- 
pended on her success. The goose hunted everywhere, 
but in vain. She searched under each chestnut tree, 
turning every blade of grass with her bill — nothing to be 
seen, and evening was drawing on ! 

Suddenly the dwarf noticed a big old tree standing 
alone on the other side of the lake. ' Look,' cried he, ' let 
us try our luck there.' 

The goose fluttered and skipped in front, and he ran 
after as fast as his little legs could carry him. The tree 
cast a wide shadow, and it was almost dark beneath it, 
but suddenly the goose stood still, flapped her wings with 
joy, and plucked something, which she held out to her 
astonished friend, saying: 4 There it is, and there is more 
growing here, so you will have no lack of it.' 

The dwarf stood gazing at the plant. It gave out a 
strong sweet scent, which reminded him of the day of his 
enchantment. The stems and leaves were a bluish green, 
and it bore a dark, bright red flower with a yellow edge. 

1 What a wonder ! ' cried Long Nose. ' I do believe 
this is the very herb which changed me from a squirrel 
into my present miserable form. Shall I try an experi- 
ment?' 

1 Not yet,' said the goose. 6 Take a good handful of 



THE HISTORY OF DWAEF LONG NOSE 247 

the herb with you, and let us go to your rooms. We will 
collect all your money and clothes together, and then 
we will test the powers of the herb.' 




So they went back to Jem's rooms, and here he 
gathered together some fifty ducats he had saved, his 
clothes and shoes, and tied them all up in a bundle. 
Then he plunged his face into the bunch of herbs, and 
drew in their perfume. 

As he did so, all his limbs began to crack and stretch; 
he felt his head rising above his shoulders: he glanced 



248 THE HISTORY OF DWARF LONG NOSE 

down at bis nose, and saw it grow smaller and smaller ; 
his chest and back grew flat, and bis legs grew long. 

The goose looked on in amazement. 4 Oh, how big and 
how beautiful you are! ' she cried. ' Thank heaven, you 
are quite changed.' 

Jem folded his hands in thanks, as his heart swelled 
with gratitude. But his joy did not make him forget all 
he owed to his friend Mimi. 

4 I owe } T ou my life and my release, 7 he said, i f or 
without you I should never have regained my natural 
shape, and, indeed, would soon have been beheaded. I 
will now take you back to your father, who will certainly 
know how to disenchant you.' 

The goose accepted his offer with joy, and they 
managed to slip out of the palace unnoticed by anyone. 

They got through the journey without accident, and 
the wizard soon released his daughter, and loaded Jem 
with thanks and valuable presents. He lost no time in 
hastening back to his native town, and his parents were 
very ready to recognise the handsome, well-made young 
man as their long-lost son. With the money given him by 
the wizard he opened a shop, which prospered well, and 
he lived long and happily. 

I must not forget to mention that much disturbance 
was caused in the palace by Jem's sudden disappearance, 
for when the grand duke sent orders next day to behead 
the dwarf, if he had not found the necessary herbs, the 
dwarf was not to be found. The prince hinted that the 
duke had allowed his cook to escape, and had therefore 
broken his word. The matter ended in a great war 
between the two princes, which was known in history as 
the ' Herb War.' After many battles and much loss of 
life, a peace was at last concluded, and this peace became 
known as the 'Pasty Peace,' because at the banquet 
given in its honour the prince's cook dished up the 
Queen of Pasties — the Suzeraine — and the grand duke 
declared it to be quite excellent. 



249 



THE NUNDA, EATER OF PEOPLE 

Once upon a time there lived a sultan who loved his 
garden dearly, and planted it with trees and flowers and 
fruits from all parts of the world. He went to see them 
three times every day : first at seven o'clock, when he got 
up, then at three, and lastly at half-past five. There was 
no plant and no vegetable which escaped his eye, but he 
lingered longest of all before his one date tree. 

Now the sultan had seven sons. Six of them he was 
proud of, for they were strong and manly, but the 
youngest he disliked, for he spent all his time among the 
women of the house. The sultan had talked to him, and 
he paid no heed ; and he had beaten him, and he paid no 
heed; and he had tied him up, and he paid no heed, till at 
last his father grew tired of trying to make him change 
his ways, and let him alone. 

Time passed, and one day the sultan, to his great joy, 
saw signs of fruit on his date tree. And he told his 
vizir, ' My date tree is bearing ; ' and he told the officers, 
' My date tree is bearing ; ' and he told the judges, ' My 
date tree is bearing ; ' and he told all the rich men of the 
town. 

He waited patiently for some days till the dates were 
nearly ripe, and then he called his six sons, and said : 
' One of you must watch the date tree till the dates are 
ripe, for if it is not watched the slaves will steal them, 
and I shall not have any for another year.' 

And the eldest son answered, 'I will go, father,' and 

he went. Digitized by Wkrosofl <S 



250 THE NUNDA, EATER OF PEOPLE 

The first thing the youth did was to summon his 
slaves, and bid them beat drums all night under the 
date tree, for he feared to fall asleep. So the slaves beat 
the drums, and the young man danced till four o'clock, 
and then it grew so cold he could dance no longer, and 
one of the slaves said to him : ' It is getting light ; the tree 
is safe ; lie down, master, and go to sleep.' 

So he lay down and slept, and his slaves slept like- 
wise. 

A few minutes went by, and a bird flew down from 
a neighbouring thicket, and ate all the dates, without 
leaving a single one. And when the tree was stripped 
bare, the bird went as it had come. Soon after, one of 
the slaves woke up and looked for the dates, but there 
were no dates to see. Then he ran to the young man 
and shook him, saying: 

1 Your father set yon to watch the tree, and you have 
not watched, and the dates have all been eaten by a 
bird.' 

The lad jumped up and ran to the tree to see for 
himself, but there was not a date anywhere. And he 
cried aloud, ' What am I to say to my father? Shall 
I tell him that the dates have been stolen, or that a great 
rain fell and a great storm blew? But he will send me to 
gather them up and bring them to him, and there are 
none to bring ! Shall I tell him that Bedouins drove me 
away, and when T returned there were no dates? And he 
will answer, " You had slaves, did they not fight with the 
Bedouins?" It is the truth that will be best, and that 
will I tell him. 5 

Then he went straight to his father, and found him 
sitting in his verandah with his five sons round him ; and 
the lad bowed his head. 

'Give me the news from the garden,' said the sultan. 

And the youth answered, ' The dates have all been 
eaten by some bird : there is not one left.' 

Digitized by Microsoft ® 



THE NUNDA, EATER OF PEOPLE 251 

The sultan was silent for a moment : then he asked, 
\ Where were you when the bird came?' 

The lad answered : ' I watched the date tree till 
the cocks were crowing and it was getting light ; then 
I lay down for a little, and I slept. When I woke a 
slave was standing over me, and he said, "There is 
not one date left on the tree ! " And I went to the date 
tree, and saw it was true ; and that is what I have to tell 
you/ 

And the sultan replied, 4 A son like you is only good 
for eating and sleeping. I have no use for you. Go 
your way, and when my date tree bears again, I will send 
another son ; perhaps he will watch better.' 

So he waited many months, till the tree was covered 
with more dates than any tree had ever borne before. 
When they were near ripening he sent one of his 
sons to the garden : saying, ' My son, I am longing to 
taste those dates : go and watch over them, for to-day's sun 
will bring them to perfection.' 

And the lad answered : i My father, I am going now, 
and to-morrow, when the sun has passed the hour of 
seven, bid a slave come and gather the dates.' 

' Good,' said the sultan. 

The youth went to the tree, and lay down and 
slept. And about midnight he arose to look at the tree, 
and the dates were all there — beautiful dates, swinging 
in bunches. , 

i Ah, my father will have a feast, indeed,' thought he. 
'What a fool my brother was not to take more heed! 
Now he is in disgrace, and we know him no more. Well, 
I will watch till the bird comes. I should like to see 
what manner of bird it is.' 

And he sat and read till the cocks crew and it grew 
light, and the dates were still on the tree. 

c Oh my father will have his dates ; they are all safe 
now,' he thought to himself. ' I will make myself com- 
fortable against this tree,' and he leaned against the 



252 THE NUNDA, EATER OF PEOPLE 

trunk, and sleep came on him, and the bird flew down 
and ate all the dates. 

When the sun rose, the head-man came and looked 
for the dates, and there where no dates. And he woke the 
young man, and said to him, ' Look at the tree.' 

And the young man looked, and there were no dates. 
And his ears were stopped, and his legs trembled, and his 
tongue grew heavy at the thought of the sultan. His 
slave became frightened as he looked at him, and asked, 
' My master, what is it? ' 

He answered, ' I have no pain anywhere, but I am ill 
everywhere. My whole body is well, and my whole body 
is sick. I fear my father, for did I not say to him, " To- 
morrow at seven you shall taste the dates " ? And he 
will drive me away, as he drove away my brother ! I 
will go away myself, before he sends me.' 

Then he got up and took a road that led straight past 
the palace, but he had not walked many steps before he 
met a man carrying a large silver dish, covered with a 
white cloth to cover the dates. And the young man 
said, i The dates are not ripe yet ; you must return 
to-morrow.' 

And the slave went with him to the palace, where the 
sultan was sitting with his four sons. 

4 Good greeting, master ! ' said the youth. 

And the sultan answered, ' Have you seen the man I 
sent?' 

' I have, master ; but the dates are not yet ripe.' 

But the sultan did not believe his words, and said : 
' This second year I have eaten no dates, because of my 
sons. Go your ways, you are my son no longer ! ' 

And the sultan looked at the four sons that were left 
him, and promised rich gifts to whichever of them 
would bring him the dates from the tree. But year by 
year passed, and he never got them. One son tried to 
keep himself awake with playing cards ; another mounted 
a horse and rode round and round the tree, while the two 



THE NUNDA, EATER OF PEOPLE 253 

others, whom their father as a last hope sent together, 
lit bonfires. Bat whatever they did, the result was 
always the same. Towards dawn they fell asleep, and 
the bird ate the dates on the tree. 

The sixth year had come, and the dates on the tree 
were thicker than ever. And the head-man went to the 
palace and told the sultan what he had seen. But the 
sultan only shook his head, and said sadly, ' What is that 
to me? I have had seven sons, yet for five years a bird 
has devoured my dates ; and this year it will be the same 
as ever.' 

Now the youngest son was sitting in the kitchen, as 
was his custom, when he heard his father say those words. 
And he rose up, and went to his father, and knelt before 
him. ' Father, this year you shall eat dates,' cried he. 
4 And on the tree are five great bunches, and each bunch 
I will give to a separate nation, for the nations in the 
town are five. This time, I will watch the date tree 
myself.' But his father and his mother laughed heartily, 
and thought his words idle talk. 

One day, news was brought to the sultan that the 
dates were ripe, and he ordered one of his men to go and 
watch the tree. His son, who happened to be standing 
by, heard the order, and he said : 

4 How is it that you have bidden a man to watch the 
tree, when I, your son, am left?' 

And his father answered, ' Ah, six were of no use, and 
where they failed, will you succeed ? ' 

But the boy replied : ' Have patience to-day, and let 
me go, and to-morrow you shall see whether I bring you 
dates or not.' 

' Let the child go, Master,' said his wife ; ' perhaps we 
shall eat the dates — or perhaps we shall not — but let him 

tro.' 

And the sultan answered : c I do not refuse to let him 
go, but my heart distrusts him. His brothers all pro- 
mised fair, and what did they do ? ' 



254 THE NUNDA, EATER OF PEOPLE 

But the boy entreated, saying, i Father, if you and 1 
and mother be alive to-morrow, you shall eat the dates.' 

4 Go then,' said his father. 

When the boy reached the garden, he told the slaves 
to leave him, and to return home themselves and sleep. 
When he was alone, he laid himself down and slept fast 
till one o'clock, when he arose, and sat opposite the date 
tree. Then he took some Indian corn out of one fold of 
his dress, and some sandy grit out of another. And he 
chewed the corn till he felt he was growing sleepy, 
and then he put some grit into his mouth, and that kept 
him awake till the bird came. 

It looked about at first without seeing him, and whis- 
pering to itself, ' There is no one here/ fluttered lightly on 
to the tree and stretched out his beak for the dates. Then 
the boy stole softly up, and caught it by the wing. 

The bird turned and flew quickly away, but the boy 
never let go, not even when they soared high into the air. 

4 Son of Adam,' the bird said when the tops of the 
mountains looked small below them, 4 if you fall, you will 
be dead long before you reach the ground, so go your 
way, and let me go mine.' 

But the boy answered, 4 Wherever you go, I will go 
with you. You cannot get rid of me.' 

4 1 did not eat your dates,' persisted the bird, 4 and the 
day is dawning. Leave me to go my way.' 

But again the boy answered him : ' My six brothers 
are hateful to my father because you came and stole the 
dates, and to-day my father shall see you, and lny brothers 
shall see you, and all the people of the town, great and 
small, shall see you. And my father's heart will rejoice.' 

' Well, if you will not leave me, I will throw you off,' 
said the bird. 

So it flew up higher still — so high that the earth 
shone like one of the other stars. 

4 How much of you will be left if you fall from here? ' 
asked the bird. D/ ^ ///zed by Mjcrosoft ® 



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THE NUNDA, EATER OF PEOPLE 255 

4 If I die, I die/ said the boy, * but I will not leave 
you/ 

And the bird saw it was no use talking, and went 
down to the earth again. 

4 Here you are at home, so let me go my way,' it 
begged once more ; 4 or at least make a covenant with 
me.' 

4 What covenant? ' said the boy. 

4 Save me from the sun,' replied the bird, 4 and I will 
save you from rain.' 

' How can you do that, and how can I tell if I can 
trust you ? ' 

4 Pull a feather from my tail, and put it in the fire, 
and if you want me I will come to you, wherever I am.' 

And the boy answered, 4 Well, I agree; go your way.' 

4 Farewell, my friend. When you call me, if it is from 
the depths of the sea, I will come.' 

The lad watched the bird out of sight ; then he went 
straight to the date tree. And when he saw the dates his 
heart was glad, and his body felt stronger and his eyes 
brighter than before. And he laughed out loud with joy, 
and said to himself, ' This is my luck, mine, Sit-in-the- 
kitchen ! Farewell, date tree, I am going to lie down. 
What ate you will eat you no more.' 

The sun was high in the sky before the head-man, 
whose business it was, came to look at the date tree, 
expecting to find it stripped of all its fruit, but when he 
saw the dates so thick that they almost hid the leaves 
he ran back to his house, and beat a big drum till every- 
body came running, and even the little children wanted 
to know what had happened. 

4 What is it? What is it, head-man? ' cried they. 

4 Ah, it is not a son that the master has, but a lion! 
This day Sit-in-the-kitchen has uncovered his face before 
his father ! ' 

4 But how, head-man? ' 

4 To-day the people may eat the dates.' 



256 THE NUNDA, EATER OF PEOPLE 

' Is it true, head-man ? ' 

4 Oh yes, it is true, but let him sleep till each man 
has brought forth a present. He who has fowls, let him 
take fowls ; he who has a goat, let him take a goat ; he 
who has rice, let him take rice.' And the people did as 
he had said. 

Then they took the drum, and went to the tree where 
the boy lay sleeping. 

And they picked him up, and carried him away, with 
horns and clarionets and drums, with clappings of hands 
and shrieks of joy, straight to his father's house. 

When his father heard the noise and saw the baskets 
made of green leaves, brimming over with dates, and his son 
borne high on the necks of slaves, his heart leaped, and he 
said to himself ' To-day at last I shall eat dates.' And he 
called his wife to see what her son had clone, and ordered 
his soldiers to take the boy and bring him to his father. 

* What news, my son ? ' said he. 

1 News? I have no news, except that if you will open 
your mouth you shall see what dates taste like.' And 
he plucked a date, and put it into his father's mouth. 

' Ah ! You are indeed my son,' cried the sultan. 
4 You do not take after those fools, those good-for- 
nothings. But, tell me, what did you do with the bird, 
for it was you, and you only who watched for it? ' 

' Yes, it was I who watched for it and who saw it. 
And it will not come again, neither for its life, nor for 
your life, nor for the lives of your children/ 

' Oh, once I had six sons, and now I have only one. 
It is you, whom I called a fool, who have given me the 
dates : as for the others, I want none of them.' 

But his wife rose up and went to him, and said, 
* Master, do not, I pray you, reject them,' and she en- 
treated long, till the sultan granted her prayer, for she 
loved the six elder ones more than her last one. 

So they all lived quietly at home, till the sultan's cat 
went and caught a calf. And the owner of the calf went 



THE NUNDA, EATER OF PEOPLE 2hl 

and told the sultan, but he answered, ' The cat is mine, 
and the calf mine,' and the man dared not complain 
further. 

Two days after, the cat caught a cow, and the sultan 
was told, ' Master, the cat has caught a cow,' but he only 
said, ; It was my cow and my cat.' 

And the cat waited a few days, and then it caught a 
donkey, and they told the sultan, 4 Master, the cat has 
caught a donkey/ and he said, f My cat and my donkey.' 
Next it was a horse, aud after that a camel, and when 
the sultan was told he said, ' You don't like this cat, and 
want me to kill it. And I shall not kill it. Let it eat 
the camel : let it even eat a man.' 

And it waited till the next day, and caught some one's 
child. And the sultan was told, ' The cat has caught a 
child/ And he said, ' The cat is mine and the child mine.' 
Then it caught a grown-up man. 

After that the cat left the town and took up its abode 
in a thicket near the road. So if any one passed, going 
for water, it devoured him. If it saw a cow going to 
feed, it devoured him. If it saw a goat, it devoured him. 
"Whatever went along that road the cat caught and ate. 

Then the people went to the sultan in a body, and 
told him of all the misdeeds of that cat. But he 
answered as before, ' The cat is mine and the people are 
mine.' And no man dared kill the cat, which grew 
bolder and bolder, and at last came into the town to look 
for its prey. 

One day, the sultan said to his six sons, * I am going 
into the country, to see how the w T heat is growing, and 
you shall come with me.' They went on merrily along 
the road, till they came to a thicket, when out sprang the 
cat, and killed three of the sons. 

' The cat ! The cat ! ' shrieked the soldiers who were 
with him. And this time the sultan said : 

4 Seek for it and kill it. It is no longer a cat, but a 
demon!' 



258 THE NUNDA, EATER OF PEOPLE 

And the soldiers answered him, 4 Did we not tell you, 
master, what the cat was doing, and did you not say, 
4 ; My cat and my people " ? ' 

And he answered : ' True, I said it.' 

Now the youngest son had not gone with the rest, 
but had stayed at home with his mother; and when he 
heard that his brothers had been killed by the cat he 
said, ' Let me go, that it may slay me also/ His mother 
entreated him not to leave her, but he would not listen, 
and he took his sword and a spear and some rice cakes, 
and went after the cat, which by this time had run off to 
a great distance. 

The lad spent many days hunting the cat, which now 
bore the name of 4 The Nunda, eater of people,' but though 
he killed many wild animals he saw no trace of the 
enemy he was hunting for. There was no beast, however 
fierce, that he was afraid of, till at last his father and 
mother begged him to give up the chase after the 
Nunda. 

But he answered : ' "What I have said, I cannot take 
back. If I am to die, then J die, but every day I must 
go and seek for the Nunda.' 

And again his father offered him what he would, even 
the crown itself, but the boy would hear nothing, and 
went on his way. 

Many times his slaves came and told him, ' "We have 
seen footprints, and to-day we shall behold the Nunda.' 
But the footprints never turned out to be those of the 
Nunda. They wandered far through deserts and through 
forests, and at length came to the foot of a great hill. 
And something in the boy's soul whispered that here was 
the end of all their seeking, and to-day they would find 
the Nunda. 

But before they began to climb the mountain the boy 
ordered his slaves to cook some rice, and they rubbed the 
stick to make a fire, and when the fire was kindled they 
cooked the rice and ate it. Then they began their climb. 



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THE NUNDA, EATER OF PEOPLE 261 

Suddenly, when they had almost reached the top, a 
slave who was on in front cried : 

' Master ! Master ! ' And the boy pushed on to 
where the slave stood, and the slave said : 

4 Cast your eyes down to the foot of the mountain.' 
And the boy looked, and his soul told him it was the 
Nunda. 

And he crept down with his spear in his hand, and 
then he stopped and gazed below him. 

' This must be the real Nunda/ thought he. c My 
mother told me its ears were small, and this one's are 
small. She told me it was broad and not long, and this 
is broad and not long. She told me it had spots like a 
civet-cat, and this has spots like a civet-cat.' 

Then he left the Nunda lying asleep at the foot of the 
mountain, and went back to his slaves. 

' We will feast to-day,' he said ; ' make cakes of batter, 
and bring water/ and they ate and drank. And when 
they had finished he bade them hide the rest of the food 
in the thicket, that if they slew the Nunda they might 
return and eat and sleep before going back to the town. 
And the slaves did as he bade them. 

It was now afternoon, and the lad said : 4 It is time we 
went after the Nunda.' And they went till they reached 
the bottom and came to a great forest which lay between 
them and the Nunda. 

Here the lad stopped, and ordered every slave that 
wore two cloths to cast one away and tuck up the other 
between his legs. 4 For,' said he, ' the wood is not a little 
one. Perhaps we may be caught by the thorns, or perhaps 
we may have to run before the Nunda, and the cloth 
might bind our legs, and cause us to fall before it.' 

And they answered, ' Good, master,' and did as he 
bade them. Then they crawled on their hands and knees 
to where the Nunda lay asleep. 

Noiselessly they crept along till they were quite close 
to it ; then, at a sign from the boy, they threw their 



262 THE NUNDA, EATER OF PEOPLE 

spears. The Nunda did not stir : the spears had done 
their work, but a great fear seized them all, and they ran 
away and climbed the mountain. 

The sun was setting when they reached the top, and 
glad they were to take out the fruit and the cakes and 
the water which they had hidden away, and sit down 
and rest themselves. And after they had eaten and were 
filled, they lay down and slept till morning. 

When the dawn broke they rose up and cooked more 
rice, and drank more water. After that they walked all 
round the back of the mountain to the place where they 
had left the Nunda, and they saw it stretched out where 
they had found it, stiff and dead. And they took it up 
and carried it back to the town, singing as they went, 
1 He has killed the Nunda, the eater of people.' 

And when his father heard the news, and that his son 
was come, and was bringing the Nunda with him, he felt 
that the man did not dwell on the earth whose joy was 
greater than his. And the people bowed down to the boy 
and gave him presents, and loved him, because he had 
delivered them from the bondage of fear, and had slaiu 
the Nunda. 

[Adapted from Swahili Tales.] 



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263 



THE STORY OF HASSEBU 

Once upon a time there lived a poor woman who had 
only one child, and he was a little boy called Hassebu. 
When he ceased to be a baby, and his mother thought it 
was time for him to learn to read, she sent him to school. 
And, after he had done with school, he was put into a 
shop to learn how to make clothes, and did not learn ; 
and he was put to do silversmith's work, and did not 
learn ; and whatsoever he was taught, he did not learn it. 
His mother never wished him to do anything he did not 
like, so she said : ' Well, stay at home, my son.' And he 
stayed at home, eating and sleeping. 

One day the boy said to his mother : ' What was my 
father's business?' 

4 He was a very learned doctor/ answered she. 

' Where, then, are his books?' asked Hassebu. 

4 Many days have passed, and I have thought nothing 
of them. But look inside and see if they are there.' So 
Hassebu looked, and saw they were eaten by insects, all 
but one book, which he took away and read. 

He was sitting at home one morning poring over the 
medicine book, when some neighbours came by and said 
to his mother : ' Give us this boy, that we may go together 
to cut wood.' For wood-cutting was their trade, and they 
loaded several donkeys with the wood, and sold it in the 
town. 

And his mother answered, ' Very well ; to-morrow I 
will buy him a donkey, and you can all go together/ 

So the donkey was bought, and the neighbours came, 



264 THE STORY OF HASSEBU 

and they worked bard all day, and in the evening they 
brought the wood back into the town, and sold it for a 
good sum of money. And for six days they went and did 
the like, but on the seventh it rained, and the wood-cutters 
ran and hid in the rocks, all but Hassebu, who did not 
mind wetting, and sta3 T ed where he was. 

While he was sitting in the place where the wood- 
cutters had left him, he took up a stone that lay near 
him, and idly dropped it on the ground. It rang with a 
hollow sound, and he called to his companions, and said, 
4 Come here and listen ; the ground seems hollow!' 

' Knock again ! ' cried they. And he knocked and 
listened. 

' Let us dig,' said the boy. And they dug, and found 
a large pit like a well, filled with honey up to the brim. 

4 This is better than firewood,' said they ; ' it will bring 
us more money. And as you have found it, Hassebu, it 
is you who must go inside and dip out the honey and 
give to us, and we will take it to the town and sell it, and 
will divide the money with you.' 

The following day each man brought every bowl and 
vessel he could find at home, and Hassebu filled them 
all with honey. And this he did every clay for three 
months. 

At the end of that time the honey was very nearly 
finished, and there was only a little left, quite at the 
bottom, and that was very deep down, so deep that it 
seemed as if it must be right in the middle of the earth. 
Seeing this, the men said to Hassebu, 4 We will put a 
rope under your arms, and let you down, so that you 
may scrape up all the honey that is left, and when you 
have done we will lower the rope again, and you shall 
make it fast, and we will draw you up.' 

4 Very well,' answered the boy, and he went down, 
and he scraped and scraped till there was not so much 
honey left as would cover the point of a needle. ' Now 
I am ready ! ' he cried ; but they consulted together and 



THE STORY OF HASSEBU 265 

said, ' Let us leave him tliere inside the pit, and take 
his share of the money, and we will tell his mother, 
" Your son was caught by a lion and carried off into the 
forest, and we tried to follow him, but could not." ; 

Then they arose and went into the town and told his 
mother as they had agreed, and she wept much and made 
her mourning for many months. And when the men were 
dividing the money, one said, ; Let us send a little to our 
friend's mother,' and they sent some to her ; and every 
day one took her rice, and one oil ; one took her meat, 
and one took her cloth, every day. 

It did not take long for Hassebu to find out that his 
companions had left him to die in the pit, but he had a 
brave heart, and hoped that he might be able to find a 
way out for himself. So he at once began to explore the 
pit and found it ran back a long way underground. And 
by night he slept, and by day he took a little of the 
honey he had gathered and ate it; and so many days 
passed by. 

One morning, while he was sitting on a rock having 
his breakfast, a large scorpion dropped down at his feet, 
and he took a stone and killed it, fearing it would sting 
him. Then suddenly the thought darted into his head, 
i This scorpion must have come from somewhere ! 
Perhaps there is a hole. I will go and look for it/ and 
he felt all round the walls of the pit till he found a 
very little hole in the roof of the pit, with a tiny glim- 
mer of light at the far end of it. Then his heart 
felt glad, and he took out his knife and dug and dug, 
till the little hole became a big one, and he could wriggle 
himself through. And when he had got outside, he saw 
a large open space in front of him, and a path leading 
out of it. 

He went along the path, on and on, till he reached a 
large house, with a golden door standing open. Inside 
was a great hall, and in the middle of the hall a throne 
set with precious stones and a sofa spread with the 



266 THE STORY OF HASSEBU 

softest cushions. And he went in and lay down on it, 
and fell fast asleep, for he had wandered far. 

By-and-by there was a sound of people coming 
through the courtyard, and the measured tramp of 
soldiers. This was the King of the Snakes coming in 
state to his palace. 

They entered the hall, but all stopped in surprise at 
finding a man lying on the king's own bed. The soldiers 
wished to kill him at once, but the king said, ' Leave 
him alone, put me on a chair/ and the soldiers who were 
carrying him knelt on the floor, and he slid from their 
shoulders on to a chair. When he was comfortably 
seated, he turned to his soldiers, and bade them wake the 
stranger gently. And they woke him, and he sat up and 
saw many snakes all round him, and one of them very 
beautiful, decked in royal robes. 

' Who are you? ' asked Hassebu. 

4 1 am the King of the Snakes,' was the reply, ' and 
this is my palace. And will you tell me who you are, 
and where you come from? ? 

'My name is Hassebu, but whence I come I know 
not, nor whither I go.' 

' Then stay for a little with me/ said the king, and he 
bade his soldiers bring water from the spring and fruits 
from the forest, and to set them before the guest. 

For some days Hassebu rested and feasted in the 
palace of the King of the Snakes, and then he began to 
long for his mother and his own country. So he said to 
the King of the Snakes, ' Send me home, I pray.' 

But the King of the Snakes answered, ' When you go 
home, you will do me evil ! ' 

' I will do you no evil,' replied Hassebu ; ' send me 
home, I pray.' 

But the king said, ' I know it. If I send you home, 
you will come back, and kill me. I dare not do it.' 
But Hassebu begged so hard that at last the king 
said, ' Swear that when you get home you will not go to 



THE STORY OF HASSEBU 



267 



bathe where many people are gathered.' And Hassebu 
swore, and the king ordered his soldiers to take Hassebu 




Jwjfosretw 75b t^ ^>5gYperit- j<ma 



in sight of his native city. Then he went straight to his 
mother's house, and the heart of his mother was glad. 
Now the Sultan of the city was very ill, and all the 



268 THE STORY OF HASSEBU 

wise men said that the only thing to cure him was the 
flesh of the King of the Snakes, and that the only man 
who could get it was a man with a strange mark on his 
chest. So the Vizir had set people to watch at the public 
baths, to see if such a man came there. 

For three days Hassebn remembered his promise to 
the King of the Snakes, and did not go near the baths ; 
then came a morning so hot he could hardly breathe, and 
he forgot all about it. 

The moment he had slipped off his robe he was taken 
before the Vizir, who said to him, k Lead us to the place 
where the King of the Snakes lives.' 

4 1 do not know it! ' answered he, but the Vizir did 
not believe him, and had him bound and beaten till his 
back was all torn. 

Then Hassebu cried, ' Loose me, that I may take 
you.' 

They went together a long, long way, till they reached 
the palace of the King of the Snakes. 

And Hassebu said to the King : ' It was not I : look at 
my back and you will see how they drove me to it.' 

' Who has beaten you like this? ' asked the King. 

' It was the Vizir/ replied Hassebu. 

4 Then I am already dead/ said the King sadly, ' but 
you must carry me there yourself.' 

So Hassebu carried him. And on the way the King 
said, 4 When I arrive, I shall be killed, and my flesh will 
be cooked. But take some of the water that I am boiled 
in, and put it in a bottle and lay it on one side. The 
Vizir will tell you to drink it, but be careful not to do so. 
Then take some more of the water, and drink it, and you 
will become a great physician, and the third supply you 
will give to the Sultan. And when the Vizir comes to 
you and asks, " Did you drink what I gave you ? " you 
must answer, "I did, and this is for you," and he will 
drink it and die, and } T our soul will rest.' 

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THE STORY OF IIASSEBU 269 

And they went their way into the town, and all 
happened as the King of the Snakes had said. 

And the Sultan loved Hassebu, who became a great 
physician, and cured many sick people. But he was 
always sorry for the poor King of the Snakes. 

[Adapted from Swahili Tales.] 



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270 



THE MAIDEN WITH THE WOODEN HELMET 

In a little village in the country of Japan there lived 
long, long ago a man and his wife. For many years they 
were happy and prosperous, but bad times came, and at 
last nothing was left them but their daughter, who was 
as beautiful as the morning. The neighbours were very 
kind, and would have done anything they could to help 
their poor friends, but the old couple felt that since every- 
thing had changed they would rather go elsewhere, so 
one day they set off to bury themselves in the country, 
taking their daughter with them. 

Now the mother and daughter had plenty to do in 
keeping the house clean and looking after the garden, but 
the man would sit for hours together gazing straight in 
front ©f him, and thinking of the riches that once were 
his. Each day he grew more and more wretched, till 
at length he took to his bed and never got up again. 

His wife and daughter wept bitterly for his loss, and 
it was many months before they could take pleasure 
in anything. Then one morning the mother suddenly 
looked at the girl, and found that she had grown still 
more lovely than before. Once her heart would have 
been glad at the sight, but now that they two were alone 
in the world she feared some harm might come of it. 
So, like a good mother, she tried to teach her daughter 
all she knew, and to bring her up to be always busy, so 
that she would never have time to think about herself. 
And the girl was a good girl, and listened to all her 
mother's lesson s, and so the years passed away. 



THE MAIDEN WITH WOODEN HELMET 271 

At last one wet spring the mother caught cold, and 
though in the beginning she did not pay much attention 
to it, she gradually grew more and more ill, and knew 
that she had not long to live. Then she called her 
daughter and told her that very soon she would be alone 
in the world ; that she must take care of herself, as 
there would be no one to take care of her. And because 
it was more difficult for beautiful women to pass unheeded 
than for others, she bade her fetch a wooden helmet out 
of the next room, and put it on her head, and pull it low 
down over her brows, so that nearly the whole of her face 
should lie in its shadow. The girl did as she was bid, 
and her beauty was so hidden beneath the wooden cap, 
which covered up all her hair, that she might have gone 
through any crowd, and no one would have looked twice 
at her. And when she saw this the heart of the mother 
was at rest, and she lay back in her bed and died. 

The girl wept for many days, but by-and-by she felt 
that, being alone in the world, she must go and get work, 
for she had only herself to depend upon. There was 
none to be got by staying where she was, so she made 
her clothes into a bundle, and walked over the hills till 
she reached the house of the man who owned the fields 
in that part of the country. And she took service with 
him and laboured for him early and late, and every night 
when she went to bed she was at peace, for she had not 
forgotten one thing that she had promised her mother; 
and, however hot the sun might be, she always kept the 
wooden helmet on her head, and the people gave her the 
nickname of Hatschihime. 

In spite, however, of all her care the fame of her 
beauty spread abroad : many of the impudent young men 
that are always to be found in the world stole softly up 
behind her while she was at work, and tried to lift off the 
wooden helmet. But the girl would have nothing to say 
to them, and only bade them be off ; then they began 
to talk to her, but she never answered them, and went on 



272 THE MAIDEN WITH WOODEN HELMET 

with what she was doing, though her wages were low 
and food not very plentiful. Still she could manage to 
live, and that was enough. 




THE IMPVDENT YOVNG MEN 



One day her master happened to pass through the 
field where she was working, and was struck hy her 
industry and stopped to watch her. After a while he 
put one or two questions to her, and then led her into 

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Digitized by Microsoft ® 



THE MAIDEN WITH WOODEN HELMET 273 

his house, and told her that henceforward her only duty 
should be to tend his sick wife. From this time the girl 
felt as if all her troubles were ended, but the worst of 
them was yet to come. 

Not very long after Hatschihime had become maid to 
the sick woman, the eldest son of the house returned 
home from Kioto, where he had been studying all sorts 
of things. He was tired of the splendours of the town 
and its pleasures, and was glad enough to be back in 
the green country, among the peach-blossoms and sweet 
flowers. Strolling about in the early morning, he caught 
sight of the girl with the odd wooden helmet on her head, 
and immediately he went to his mother to ask who she 
was, and where she came from, and why she wore that 
strange thing over her face. His mother answered that it 
was a whim, and nobody could persuade her to lay it 
aside ; whereat the young man laughed, but kept his 
thoughts to himself. 

One hot day, however, he happened to be going 
towards home when he caught sight of his mother's 
waiting maid kneeling by a little stream that flowed 
through the garden, splashing some water over her face. 
The helmet was pushed on one side, and as the youth 
stood watching from behind a tree he had a glimpse of 
the girl's great beauty ; and he determined that no one else 
should be his wife. But when he told his family of his 
resolve to marry her they were very angry, and made up 
all sorts of wicked stories about her. However, they might 
have spared themselves the trouble, as he knew it was 
only idle talk. c I have merely to remain firm/ thought 
he, c and they will have to give in.' It was such a good 
match for the girl that it never occurred to anyone that 
she would refuse the young man, but so it was. It would 
not be right, she felt, to make a quarrel in the house, and 
though in secret she wept bitterly, for a long while, 
nothing would make her change her mind. At length 
one night her mother appeared to her in a dream, and bade 



274 THE MAIDEN WITH WOODEN HELMET 

her marry the young man. So the next time he asked her — 
as he did nearly every day — to his surprise and joy she 
consented. The parents then saw they had better make 
the best of a bad business, and set about making the 
grand preparations suitable to the occasion. Of course 
the neighbours said a great many ill-natured things about 
the wooden helmet, but the bridegroom was too happy to 
care, and only laughed at them. 

"When everything was ready for the feast, and the bride 
was dressed in the most beautiful embroidered dress to 
be found in Japan, the maids took hold of the helmet to 
lift it off her head, so that they might do her hair in the 
latest fashion. But the helmet would not come, and the 
harder they pulled, the faster it seemed to be, till the 
poor girl yelled with pain. Hearing her cries the bride- 
groom ran in and soothed her, and declared that she 
should be married in the helmet, as she could not be 
married without. Then the ceremonies began, and the 
bridal pair sat together, and the cup of wine was brought 
them, out of which they had to drink. And when they 
had drunk it all, and the cup was empty, a wonder- 
ful thing happened. The helmet suddenly burst with a 
loud noise, and fell in pieces on the ground ; and as they 
all turned to look they found the floor covered with 
precious stones which had fallen out of it. But the 
guests were less astonished at the brilliancy of the 
diamonds than at the beauty of the bride, which was 
beyond anything they had ever seen or heard of. The 
night was passed in singing and dancing, and then the 
bride and bridegroom went to their own house, where 
they lived till they died, and had many children, who 
were famous throughout Japan for their goodness and 
beauty. 

[Japanische Marchen.] 



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275 



THE MONKEY AND THE JELLY-FISH 

Children must often have wondered why jelly-fishes 
have no shells, like so many of the creatures that are 
washed up every day on the beach. In old times this 
was not so ; the jelly-fish had as hard a shell as any of 
them, but he lost it through his own fault, as may be seen 
in this story. 

The sea-queen Otohime, whom you read of in the story 
of Uraschimatoro, grew suddenly very ill. The swiftest 
messengers were sent hurrying to fetch the best doctors 
from every country under the sea, but it was all of no use ; 
the queen grew rapidly worse instead of better. Every- 
one had almost given up hope, when one day a doctor 
arrived who was cleverer than the rest, and said that the 
only thing that would cure her was the liver of an ape. 
Now apes do not dwell under the sea, so a council of 
the wisest heads in the nation was called to consider 
the question how a liver could be obtained. At length 
it was decided that the turtle, whose prudence was well 
known, should swim to land and contrive to catch a 
living ape and bring him safely to the ocean kingdom. 

It was easy enough for the council to entrust this 
mission to the turtle, but not at all so easy for him to 
fulfil it. However he swam to a part of the coast that 
was covered with tall trees, where he thought the apes 
were likely to be; for he was old, and had seen many 
things. It was some time before he caught sight of any 
monkeys, and he often grew tired with watching for 
them, so that one hot day he fell fast asleep, in spite of 



276 THE MONKEY AND THE JELLY-FISH 

all his efforts to keep awake. By-and-by some apes, 
who had been peeping at him from the tops of the trees, 
where they had been carefully hidden from the turtle's 
eyes, stole noiselessly down, and stood round staring at 
him, for they had never seen a turtle before, and did 
not know what to make of it. At last one young monkey, 
bolder than the rest, stooped down and stroked the 
shining shell that the strange new creature wore on its 
back. The movement, gentle though it was, woke the 
turtle. With one sweep he seized the monkey's hand 
in his mouth, and held it tight, in spite of every effort to 
pull it away. The other apes, seeing that the turtle was 
not to be trifled with, ran off, leaving their young brother 
to his fate. 

Then the turtle said to the monkey, ' If you will be 
quiet, and do what I tell you, I won't hurt you. But you 
must get on my back and come with me.' 

The monkey, seeing there was no help for it, did as 
he was bid ; indeed he could not have resisted, as his 
hand was still in the turtle's mouth. 

Delighted at having secured his prize, the turtle 
hastened back to the shore and plunged quickly into the 
water. He swam faster than he had ever done before, 
and soon reached the royal palace. Shouts of joy broke 
forth from the attendants when he was seen approach- 
ing, and some of them ran to tell the queen that the 
monkey was there, and that before long she would be 
as well as ever she was. In fact, so great was their 
relief that they gave the monkey such a kind welcome, 
and were so anxious to make him happy and comfortable, 
that he soon forgot all the fears that had beset him as to 
his fate, and was generally quite at his ease, though 
every now and then a fit of home-sickness would come 
over him, and he would hide himself in some dark corner 
till it had passed away. 

It was during one of these attacks of sadness that a 
jelly-fish happened to swim by. At that time jelly-fishes 



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THE MONKEY AND THE JELLY-FISH 279 

had shells. At the sight of the gay and lively monkey 
crouching under a tall rock, with his eyes closed and 
his head bent, the jelly-fish was filled with pity, and 
stopped, saying, c Ah, poor fellow, no wonder you weep ; a 
few days more, and they will come and kill you and give 
your liver to the queen to eat.' 

The monkey shrank back horrified at these words and 
asked the jelly-fish what crime he had committed that 
deserved death. 

4 Oh, none at all/ replied the jelly-fish, c but your liver 
is the only thing that will cure our queen, and how can 
we get at it without killing you? You had better submit 
to your fate, and make no noise about it, for though I 
pity you from my heart there is no way of helping you.' 
Then he went away, leaving the ape cold with horror. 

At first he felt as if his liver was already being taken 
from his body, but soon he began to wonder if there was 
no means of escaping this terrible death, and at length he 
invented a plan which he thought would do. For a few 
days he pretended to be gay and happy as before, but 
when the sun went in, and rain fell in torrents, he wept 
and howled from dawn to dark, till the turtle, who was 
his head keeper, heard him, and came to see what was the 
matter. Then the monkey told him that before he left 
home he had hung his liver out on a bush to dry, and if 
it was always going to rain like this it would become 
quite useless. And the rogue made such a fuss and moan- 
ing that he would have melted a he,art of stone, and 
nothing would content him but that somebody should 
carry him back to land and let him fetch his liver again. 

The queen's councillors were not the wisest of people, 
and they decided between them that the turtle should take 
the monkey back to his native land and allow him to get his 
liver off the bush, but desired the turtle not to lose sight 
of his charge for a single moment. The monkey knew 
this, but trusted to his power of beguiling the turtle when 
the time came, and mounted on his back with feelings of 



280 THE MONKEY AND THE JELLY-FISH 

joy, which he was, however, careful to conceal. They 
set out, and in a few hours were wandering about the 
forest where the ape had first been caught, and when the 
monkey saw his family peering out from the tree tops, he 
swung himself up by the nearest branch, just managing 
to save his hind leg from being seized by the turtle. He 
told them all the dreadful things that had happened to 
him, and gave a war cry which brought the rest of the 
tribe from the neighbouring hills. At a word from him 
they rushed in a body to the unfortunate turtle, threw him 
on his back, and tore off the shield that covered his body. 
Then with mocking words they hunted him to the shore, 
and into the sea, which he was only too thankful to reach 
alive. Faint and exhausted he entered the queen's palace, 
for the cold of the water struck upon his naked body, and 
made him feel ill and miserable. " But wretched though 
he was, he had to appear before the queen's advisers and 
tell them all that had befallen him, and how he had 
suffered the monkey to escape. But, as sometimes 
happens, the turtle was allowed to go scot-free, and had 
his shell given back to him, and all the punishment fell 
on the poor jelly-fish, who was condemned by the queen 
to go shieldless for ever after. 

[Japanieche Marchen.] 



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281 



THE HEADLESS DWARFS 

There was once a minister who spent his whole time in 
trying to find a servant who would undertake to ring 
the church bells at midnight, in addition to all his other 
duties. 

Of course it was not everyone who cared to get up in 
the middle of the night, when he had been working hard 
all day; still, a good many had agreed to do it. But 
the strange thing was that no sooner had the servant set 
forth to perform his task than he disappeared, as if the 
earth had swallowed him up. No bells were rung, and no 
ringer ever came back. The minister did his best to keep 
the matter secret, but it leaked out for all that, and the 
end of it was that no one would enter his service. In- 
deed, there were even those who whispered that the 
minister himself had murdered the missing men ! 

It was to no purpose that Sunday after Sunday the 
minister gave out from his pulpit that double wages 
would be paid to anyone that would fulfil the sacred duty of 
ringing the bells of the church. No one took the slightest 
notice of any offer he might make, and the poor man was 
in despair, when one day, as he was standing at his house 
door, a youth known in the village as Clever Hans came 
up to him. ' I am tired of living with a miser who will 
not give me enough to eat and drink,' said he, i and I am 
ready to do all you want.' c Very good, my son/ replied 
the minister, ' you shall have the chance of proving } T our 
courage this very night. To-morrow we will settle what 
your wages are to be.' t j zec 



282 THE HEADLESS DWARFS 

Hans was quite content with this proposal, and went 
straight into the kitchen to begin his work, not know- 
ing that his new master was quite as stingy as his old 
one. In the hope that his presence might be a restraint 
upon them, the minister used to sit at the table during his 
servants' meals, and would exhort them to drink much 
and often, thinking that they would not be able to eat as 
well, and beef was dearer than beer. But in Hans he 
had met his match, and the minister soon found to his 
cost that in his case at any rate a full cup did not mean 
an empty plate. 

About an hour before midnight, Hans entered the 
church and locked the door behind him, but what was 
his surprise when, in place of the darkness and silence he 
expected, he found the church brilliantly lighted, and a 
crowd of people sitting round a table playing cards. 
Hans felt no fear at this strange sight, or was prudent 
enough to hide it if he did, and, going up to the table, sat 
down amongst the players. One of them looked up and 
asked, ' My friend, what are you doing here?' and Hans 
gazed at him for a moment, then laughed and answered, 
' Well, if anybody has a right to put that question, it is I ! 
And if 7 do not put it, it will certainly be wiser for you 
not to do so ! ' 

Then he picked up some cards, and played with the 
unknown men as if he had known them all his life. The 
luck was on his side, and soon the money of the other 
gamblers found its wa} T from their pockets into his. On 
the stroke of midnight the cock crew, and in an instant 
lights, table, cards, and people all had vanished, and Hans 
was left alone. 

He groped about for some time, till he found the 
staircase in the tower, and then began to feel his way up 
the steps. 

On the first landing a glimmer of light came through 
a slit in the wall, and he saw a tiny man sitting there, 
without a head. 'Ho! ho! my little fellow, what are 




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THE HEADLESS DWARFS 285 

you doing there? ' asked Hans, and, without waiting for an 
answer, gave hiin a kick which sent him flying down the 
stairs. Then he climbed higher still, and finding as he went 
dumb watchers sitting on every landing, treated them as 
he had done the first. 

At last he reached the top, and as he paused for a 
moment to look round him he saw another headless man 
cowering in the very bell itself, waiting till Hans should 
seize the bell-pull in order to strike him a blow with the 
clapper, w T hich would soon have made an end of him. 

4 Stop, my little friend ! ' cried Hans. 4 That is not 
part of the bargain ! Perhaps you saw how your 
comrades walked down stairs, and you are going after 
them. But as you are in the highest place you shall 
make a more dignified exit, and follow them through the 
window ! ' 

With these words he began to climb the ladder, in 
order to take the little man from the bell and carry out 
his threat. 

At this the dwarf cried out imploringly, ' Oh, brother ! 
spare my life, and I promise that neither I nor my 
comrades will ever trouble you any more. I am small and 
weak, but who knows whether some day I shall not be 
able to reward you.' 

' You wretched little shrimp,' replied Hans, 4 a great 
deal of good your gratitude is likely to do me ! But as I 
happen to be feeling in a cheerful mood to-night I will let 
you have your life. But take care how you come across 
me again, or you may not escape so easily! ' 

The headless man thanked him humbly, slid hastily 
down the bell rope, and ran down the steps of the tower 
as if he had left a fire behind him. Then Hans began to 
ring lustily. 

When the minister heard the sound of the midnight 
bells he wondered greatly, but rejoiced that he had at 
last found some one to whom he could trust this duty. 

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286 THE HEADLESS DWARFS 

Hans rang the bells for some time, then went to the hay- 
loft, and fell fast asleep. 

Now it was the custom of the minister to get up very 
early, and to go round to make sure that the men were 
all at their work. This morning everyone was in his 
place except Hans, and no one knew anything about him. 
Nine o'clock came, and no Hans, but when eleven struck 
the minister began to fear that he had vanished like the 
ringers who had gone before him. When, however, the 
servants all gathered round the table for dinner, Hans at 
last made his appearance stretching himself and yawning. 

i Where have you been all this time ? ' asked the 
minister. 

4 Asleep,' said Hans. 

' Asleep ! ' exclaimed the minister in astonishment. 
' You don't mean to tell me that you can go on sleeping 
till mid-day ? ' 

' That is exactly what I do mean,' replied Hans. * If 
one works in the night one must sleep in the day, just 
as if one works in the day one sleeps in the night. If 
you can find somebody else to ring the bells at midnight 
I am ready to begin work at dawn; but if you want me 
to ring them I must go on sleeping till noon at the very 
earliest.' 

The minister tried to argue the point with him, but 
at length the following agreement was come to. Hans 
was to give up the ringing, and was to work like the rest 
from sunrise to sunset, with the exception of an hour 
after breakfast and an hour after dinner, when he might go 
to sleep. 'But, of course,' added the minister carelessly, 
4 it may happen now and then, especially in winter, when 
the days are short, that you will have to work a little 
longer, to get something finished/ 

4 Not at all ! ' answered Hans. * Unless I were to leave 
off work earlier in summer, I will not do a stroke more 
than I have promised, and that is from dawn to dark ; so 
you know what you have to expect' 



THE HEADLESS DWARFS 287 

A few weeks later the minister was asked to attend a 
christening in the neighbouring town. He bade Hans 
come with him, but, as the town was only a few hours' 
ride from where he lived, the minister was much 
surprised to see Hans come forth laden with a bag 
containing food. 

'What are you taking that for?' asked the minister. 
' We shall be there before dark/ 

'Who knows?' replied Hans. 'Many things may 
happen to delay our journey, and I need not remind you 
of our contract that the moment the sun sets I cease to 
be your servant. If we don't reach the town while it is 
still daylight I shall leave you to shift for yourself.' 

The minister thought he was joking, and made no 
further remark. But when they had left the village 
behind them, and had ridden a few miles, they found that 
snow had fallen during the night, and had been blown 
by the wind into drifts. This hindered their progress, 
and by the time they had entered the thick wood which 
lay between them and their destination the sun was 
already touching the tops of the trees. The horses 
ploughed their way slowly through the deep soft snow 
and as they went Hans kept turning to look at the sun, 
which lay at their backs. 

'Is there anything behind you?' asked the minister. 
' Or what is it you are always turning round for? * 

' I turn round because I have no eyes in the back of 
my neck/ said Hans. 

' Cease talking nonsense/ replied the minister, ' and 
give all your mind to getting us to the town before night- 
fall.' 

Hans did not answer, but rode on steadily, though 
every now and then he cast a glance over his shoulder. 

When they arrived in the middle of the wood the sun 
sank altogether. Then Hans reined up his horse, took 
his knapsack, and jumped out of the sledge. 

'What are you doing? Are you mad?' asked the 



288 THE HEADLESS DWARFS 

minister, but Hans answered quietly, ' The sun is set and 
my work is over, and I am going to camp here for the 
night.' 

In vain the master prayed and threatened, and pro- 
mised Hans a large reward if he would only drive him 
on. The young man was not to be moved. 

4 Are you not ashamed to urge me to break my word? ' 
said he. ' If you want to reach the town to-night you 
must go alone. The hour of my freedom has struck, and 
I cannot go with you.' 

'My good Hans,' entreated the minister, 'I really 
ought not to leave you here. Consider what danger 
you would be in ! Yonder, as you see, a gallows is set 
up, and two evil-doers are hanging on it. You could not 
possibly sleep with such ghastly neighbours.' 

' Why not? ' asked Hans. 4 Those gallows birds hang 
high in the air, and my camp will be on the ground ; we 
shall have nothing to do with each other.' As he spoke, 
he turned his back on the minister, and went his way. 

There was no help for it, and the minister had to 
push on by himself, if he expected to arrive in time for 
the christening. His friends were much surprised to see 
him drive up without a coachman, and thought some 
accident had happened. But when he told them of his 
conversation with Hans they did not know which was 
the most foolish, master or man. 

It would have mattered little to Hans had he known 
what they were saying or thinking of him. He satisfied 
his hunger with the food he had in his knapsack, lit his 
pipe, pitched his tent under the boughs of a tree, wrapped 
himself in his furs, and went sound asleep. After some 
hours, he was awakened by a sudden noise, and sat up 
and looked about him. The moon was shining brightly 
above his head, and close by stood two headless dwarfs, 
talking angrily. At the sight of Hans the little dwarfs 
cried out : 

4 It is he ! It is he ! ' and one of them stepping nearer 




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THE HEADLESS DWARFS 291 

exclaimed, 4 Ah, my old friend ! it is a lucky chance that 
has brought us here. My bones still ache from my fall 
down the steps of the tower. I dare say you have not 
forgotten that night! Now it is the turn of your bones. 
Hi ! comrades, make haste ! make haste ! ' 

Like a swarm of midges, a host of tiny headless 
creatures seemed to spring straight out of the ground, 
and every one was armed with a club. Although they 
were so small, yet there were such numbers of them and 
they struck so hard that even a strong man could do 
nothing against them. Hans thought his last hour was 
come, when just as the fight was at the hottest another 
little dwarf arrived on the scene. 

4 Hold, comrades ! ' he shouted, turning to the attacking 
party. 4 This man once did me a service, and I am his 
debtor. When I was in his power he granted me my 
life. And even if he did throw you downstairs, well, a 
warm bath soon cured your bruises, so you must just 
forgive him and go quietly home.' 

The headless dwarfs listened to his words and dis- 
appeared as suddenly as they had come. As soon as 
Hans recovered himself a little he looked at his rescuer, 
and saw he was the dwarf he had found seated in the 
church bell. 

4 Ah ! ' said the dwarf, seating himself quietly under 
the tree. 4 You laughed at me when I told you that some 
day I might do you a good turn. Now you see I was 
right, and perhaps you will learn for the future not to 
despise any creature, however small.' 

4 1 thank you from my heart,' answered Hans. 4 My 
bones are still sore from their blows, and had it not been 
for you I should indeed have fared badly.' 

1 1 have almost paid my debt,' went on the little man, 
4 but as you have suffered already, I will do more, and 
give you a piece of information. You need not remain 
any longer in the service of that stingy minister, but when 
you get home to-morrow go at once to the north corner 



292 THE HEADLESS DWARFS 

of the church, and there you will find a large stone built 
into the wall, but not cemented like the rest. The day 
after to-morrow the moon is full, and at midnight you 
must go to the spot and get the stone out of the wall with a 
pickaxe. Under the stone lies a great treasure, which 
has been hidden there in time of war. Besides church 
plate, you will find bags of money, which have been lying 
in this place for over a hundred years, and no one knows 
to whom it all belongs. A third of this money you must 
give to the poor, but the rest you may keep for yourself/ 
As he finished, the cocks in the village crowed, and the 
little man was nowhere to be seen. Hans found that 
his limbs no longer pained him, and lay for some time 
thinking of the hidden treasure. Towards morning he 
fell asleep. 

The sun was high in the heavens when his master 
returned from the town. 

4 Hans,' said he, ' what a fool you were not to come 
with me yesterday ! I was well feasted and entertained, 
and I have money in my pocket into the bargain/ he 
went on, rattling some coins while he spoke, to make 
Hans understand how much he had lost. 

4 Ah, sir,' replied Hans calmly, 4 in order to have 
gained so much money you must have lain awake all 
night, but I have earned a hundred times that amount 
while I was sleeping soundly.' 

'How did you manage that?' asked the minister 
eagerly, but Hans answered, ' It is only fools who boast 
of their farthings; wise men take care to hide their 
crowns.' 

They drove home, and Hans neglected none of his 
duties, but put up the horses and gave them their food 
before going to the church corner, where he found the 
loose stone, exactly in the place described by the dwarf. 
Then he returned to his work. 

The first night of the full moon, when the whole 
village was asleep, he stole out, armed with a pickaxe, 

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THE HEADLESS DWARFS 293 

and with much difficulty succeeded in dislodging the 
stoue from its place. Sure enough, there was the hole, 
and in the hole lay the treasure, exactly as the little man 
had said. 

The following Sunday he handed over the third part 
to the village poor, and informed the minister that he 
wished to break his bond of service. As, however, he did 
not claim any wages, the minister made no objections, 
but allowed him to do as he wished. So Hans went his 
wa} T , bought himself a large house, and married a young 
wife, and lived happily and prosperously to the end of 
his days. 

[Ehstnische Marchen.] 



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294 



THE YOUNG MAN WHO WOULD HAVE 
HIS EYES OPENED 



Once upon a time there lived a youth who was never 
happy unless he was prying into something that other 
people knew nothing about. After he had learned to 
understand the language of birds and beasts, he dis- 
covered accidentally that a great deal took place under 
cover of night which mortal eyes never saw. From that 
moment he felt he could not rest till these hidden secrets 
were laid bare to him, and he spent his whole time 
wandering from one wizard to another, begging them to 
open his eyes, but found none to help him. At leDgth he 
reached an old magician called Mana, whose learning 
was greater than that of the rest, and who could tell 
him all he wanted to know. But when the old man had 
listened attentively to him, he said, warningly : 

'My son, do not follow after empty knowledge, which 
will not bring you happiness, but rather evil. Much is 
hidden from the eyes of men, because did they know 
everything their hearts would no longer be at peace. 
Knowledge kills joy, therefore think well what you are 
doing, or some day you will repent. But if you will not 
take my advice, then truly I can show you the secrets 
of the night. Only you will need more than a man's 
courage to bear the sight.' 

He stopped and looked at the young man, who 
nodded his head, and then the wizard continued, ' To- 
morrow night you must go to the place where, once in 



THE CURIOUS YOUNG MAN 295 

seven years, the serpent-king gives a great feast to his 
whole court. In front of him stands a golden bowl filled 
with goats' milk, and if you can manage to dip a piece of 
bread in this milk, and eat it before you are obliged to 
fly, you will understand all the secrets of the night that 
are hidden from other men. It is lucky for you that the 
serpent-king's feast happens to fall this year, otherwise 
you would have had long to wait for it. But take care 
to be quick and bold, or it will be the worse for you.' 

The young man thanked the wizard for his counsel, 
and went his way firmly resolved to carry out his purpose, 
even if he paid for it with his life; and when night came 
he set out for a wide, lonely moor, where the serpent- 
king held his feast. With sharpened eyes, he looked 
eagerly all round him, but could see nothing but a multi- 
tude of small hillocks, that lay motionless under the 
moonlight. He crouched behind a bush for some time, 
till he felt that midnight could not be far off, when sud- 
denly there arose in the middle of the moor a brilliant 
glow, as if a star was shining over one of the hillocks. 
At the same moment all the hillocks began to writhe and 
to crawl, and from each one came hundreds of serpents 
and made straight for the glow, where they knew they 
should find their king. When they reached the hillock 
where he dwelt, which was higher and broader than the 
rest, and had a bright light hanging over the top, they 
coiled themselves up and waited. The whirr and con- 
fusion from all the serpent-houses were so great that the 
youth did not dare to advance one step, but remained 
where he was, watching intently all that went on ; but at 
last he began to take courage, and moved on softly step 
by step. 

What he saw was creepier than creepy, and sur- 
passed all he had ever dreamt of. Thousands of 
snakes, big and little and of every colour, were gathered 
together in one great cluster round a huge serpent, whose 
body was as thick as a beam, and which had on its head 



296 THE CURIOUS YOUNG MAN 

a golden crown, from which the light sprang. Their 
hissings and darting tongues so terrified the young man 
that his heart sank, and he felt he should never have 
courage to push on to certain death, when suddenly he 
caught sight of the golden bowl in front of the serpent- 
king, and knew that if he lost this chance it would never 
come back. So, with his hair standing on end and 
his blood frozen in his veins, he crept forwards. Oh! what 
a noise and a whirr rose afresh among the serpents. 
Thousands of heads were reared, and tongues were 
stretched out to sting the intruder to death, but happily 
for him their bodies were so closely entwined one in the 
other that they could not disentangle themselves quickly. 
Like lightning he seized a bit of bread, dipped it in the 
bowl, and put it in his mouth, then dashed away as if 
fire was pursuing him. On he flew as if a whole army of 
foes were at his heels, and he seemed to hear the noise of 
their approach growing nearer and nearer. At length his 
breath failed him, and he threw himself almost senseless 
on the turf. AYhile he lay there dreadful dreams haunted 
him. He thought that the serpent-king with the fiery 
crown had twined himself round him, and was crushing 
out his life. With a loud shriek he sprang up to - do 
battle with his enemy, when he saw that it was rays of 
the sun which had wakened him. He rubbed his eyes 
and looked all round, but nothing could he see of the 
foes of the past night, and the moor where he had run 
into such danger must be at least a mile away. But it 
was no dream that he had run hard and far, or that he 
had drunk of the magic goats' milk. And when he felt 
his limbs, and found them whole, his joy was great that 
he had come through such perils with a sound skin. 

After the fatigues and terrors of the night, he lay still 
till mid-day, but he made up his mind he would go that 
very evening into the forest to try what the goats' milk 
could really do for him, and if he would now be able to 
understand all that had been a mystery to him. And 



TEE CURIOUS YOUNG MAN 



297 



once in the forest his doubts were set at rest, for he saw 
what no mortal eyes had ever seen before. Beneath the 



O000ai>aa»0 q QO<f a OO C'C(/(>Q o.a» »»<»>«» »»Q ^ gro«a 




trees were golden pavilions, with flags of silver all brightly 
lighted up. He was still wondering why the pavilions 
were there, when a noise was heard among the trees, 



298 THE CURIOUS YOUNG MAN 

as if the wind had suddenly got up, and on all sides 
beautiful maidens stepped from the trees into the bright 
light of the moon. These were the wood-nymphs, 
daughters of the earth-mother, who came every night to 
hold their dances, in the forest. The young man, watch- 
ing from his hiding place, wished he had a hundred e3 7 es 
in his head, for two were not nearly enough for the sight 
before him, the dances lasting till the first streaks of 
dawn. Then a silvery veil seemed to be drawn over the 
ladies, and they vanished from sight. But the young 
man remained where he was till the sun was high in the 
heavens, and then went home. 

He felt that day to be endless, and counted the min- 
utes till night should come, and he might return to the 
forest. But when at last he got there he found neither 
pavilions nor nymphs, and though he went back many nights 
after he never saw them again. Still, he thought about 
them night and day, and ceased to care about anything 
else in the world, and was sick to the end of his life with 
longing for that beautiful vision. And that was the way 
he learned that the wizard had spoken truly when he 
said, * Blindness is man's highest good. 7 

[Ehstnische Marchen.] 



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299 



* 



THE BOYS WITH THE GOLDEN STARS 

Once upon a time what happened did happen : and if it 
had not happened, yon would never have heard this story, 

Well, once upon a time there lived an emperor who 
had half a world all to himself to rule over, and in this 
world dwelt an old herd and his wife and their three 
daughters, Anna, Stana, and Laptitza. 

Anna, the eldest, was so beautiful that when she took 
the sheep to pasture they forgot to eat as long as she 
was walking with them. Stana, the second, was so 
beautiful that when she was driving the flock the wolves 
protected the sheep. But Laptitza, the youngest, with a 
skin as white as the foam on the milk, and with hair as 
soft as the finest lamb's wool, was as beautiful as both 
her sisters put together — as beautiful as she alone could 
be. 

One summer day, when the rays of the sun were 
pouring down on the earth, the three sisters went to the 
wood on the outskirts of the mountain to pick straw- 
berries. As they were looking about to find where the 
largest berries grew they heard the tramp of horses 
approaching, so loud that you would have thought a 
whole army was riding by. But it was only the emperor 
going to hunt with his friends and attendants. 

They were all fine handsome young men, who sat 
their horses as if they were part of them, but the finest 
and handsomest of all was the young emperor himself. 

As they drew near the three sisters, and marked their 
beauty, they checked their horses and rode slowly by. 



300 THE BOYS WITH THE GOLDEN STARS 

' Listen, sisters ! ' said Anna, as they passed on. ' If 
one of those young men should make me his wife, I 
would bake him a loaf of bread which should keep him 
young and brave for ever.' 

'And if I,' said Stana, 'should be the one chosen, 1 
would weave my husband a shirt which will keep him 
unscathed when he fights with dragons ; when he goes 
through water he will never eveu be wet ; or if through 
fire, it will not scorch him.' 

4 And I,' said Laptitza, 'will give the man who 
chooses me two boys, twins, each with a golden star on 
his forehead, as bright as those in the sky.' 

And though they spoke low the young men heard, and 
turned their horses' heads. 

' I take you at your word, and mine shall you be, most 
lovely of empresses ! ' cried the emperor, and swung 
Laptitza and her strawberries on the horse before 
him. 

'And I will have } T ou,' 'And I you,' exclaimed two 
of his friends, and they all rode back to the palace 
together. 

The following morning the marriage ceremony took 
place, and for three days and three nights there was 
nothing but feasting over the whole kingdom. And 
when the rejoicings were over the news was in every- 
body's mouth that Anna had sent for corn, and had made 
the loaf of which she had spoken at the strawberry beds. 
And then more days and nights passed, and this rumour 
was succeeded by another one — that Stana had procured 
some flax, and had dried it, and combed it, and spun it 
into linen, and sewed it herself into the shirt of which she 
had spoken over the strawberry beds. 

Now the emperor had a stepmother, and she had a 
daughter by her first husband, who lived with her in the 
palace. The girl's mother had always believed that her 
daughter would be empress, and not the ' Milkwhite 
Maiden/ the child of a mere shepherd. So she hated the 



THE BOYS WITH THE GOLDEN STARS 301 

girl with all her heart, and only bided her time to do her 
ill. 

But she could do nothing as long as the emperor 
remained with his wife night and day, and she began 
to wonder what she could do to get him away from 
her. 

At last, when everything else had failed, she managed 
to make her brother, who was king of the neighbouring 
country, declare war against the emperor, and besiege 
some of the frontier towns with a large army. This time 
her scheme was successful. The young emperor sprang 
up in wrath the moment he heard the news, and vowed 
that nothing, not even his wife, should hinder his giving 
them battle. And hastily assembling whatever soldiers 
happened to be at hand he set off at once to meet the 
enemy. The other king had not reckoned on the swift- 
ness of his movements, and was not ready to receive him. 
The emperor fell on him when he was off his guard, and 
routed his army completely. Then when victory was 
won, and the terms of peace hastily drawn up, he rode 
home as fast as his horse would carry him, and reached 
the palace on the third day. 

But early that morning, when the stars were growing 
pale in the sky, two little bo} r s with golden hair and stars 
on their foreheads were born to Laptitza. And the step- 
mother, who was watching, took them away, and dug a 
hole in the corner of the palace, under the windows of 
the emperor, and put them in it, while in their stead she 
placed two little puppies. 

The emperor came into the palace, and when they 
told him the news he went straight to Laptitza's room. 
No words were needed ; he saw with his own eyes that 
Laptitza had not kept the promise she had made at the 
strawberry beds, and, though it nearly broke his heart, 
he must give orders for her punishment. 

So he went out sadly and told his guards that the 
empress was to be buried in the earth up to her neck, so 



302 THE BOYS WITH THE GOLDEN STARS 

that everyone might know what would happen to those 
who dared to deceive the emperor. 




Not many clays after, the stepmother's wish was ful- 
filled. The emperor took her daughter to wife, and again 
the rejoicings lasted for three days and three nights. 

Let us now see what happened to the two little boys. 

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THE BOYS WITH THE GOLDEN STABS 303 

The poor little babies had found no rest even in their 
graves. In the place where they had been buried there 
sprang up two beautiful young aspens, and the step- 
mother, who hated the sight of the trees, which reminded 
her of her crime, gave orders that they should be up- 
rooted. But the emperor heard of it, and forbade the 
trees to be touched, saying, ' Let them alone ; I like to see 
them there I They are the finest aspens I have ever 
beheld ! ' 

And the aspens grew as no aspens had ever grown 
before. In each day they added a year's growth, and 
each night they added a year's growth, and at dawn, 
when the stars faded out of the sky, they grew three 
years' growth in the twinkling of an eye, and their boughs 
swept across the palace windows. And when the wind 
moved them softly, the emperor would sit and listen to 
them all the day long. 

The stepmother knew what it all meant, and her 
mind never ceased from trying to invent some way of 
destroying the trees. It was not an easy thing, but a 
woman's will can press milk out of a stone, and her 
cunning will overcome heroes. What craft will not do 
soft words may attain, and if these do not succeed there 
still remains the resource of tears. 

One morning the empress sat on the edge of her 
husband's bed, and began to coax him with all sorts of 
pretty ways. 

It was some time before the bait took, but at length — 
even emperors are only men ! 

( Well, well,' he said at last, ' have your way and cut 
down the trees; but out of one they shall make a bed 
for me, and out of the other, one for you ! ' 

And with this the empress was forced to be content. 
The aspens were cut down next morning, and before 
night the new bed had been placed in the emperor's 
room. 

Now when the emperor lay down in it he seemed as 



304 THE BOYS WITH THE GOLDEN STARS 

if he had grown a hundred times heavier than usual, 
yet he felt a kind of calm that was quite new to him. 
But the empress felt as if she was lying on thorns and 
nettles, and could not close her eyes. 

When the emperor was fast asleep, the bed began 
to crack loudly, and to the empress each crack had a 
meaning. She felt as if she were listening to a language 
which no one but herself could understand. 

' Is it too heavy for you, little brother?' asked one of 
the beds. 

' Oh, no, it is not heavy at all,' answered the bed in 
which the emperor was sleeping. ; I feel nothing but joy 
now that my beloved father rests over me.' 

4 It is very heavy for me ! ' said the other bed, ' for on 
me lies an evil soul.' 

And so they talked on till the morning, the empress 
listening all the while. 

By daybreak the empress had determined how to get 
rid of the beds. She would have two others made 
exactly like them, and when the emperor had gone hunt- 
ing they should be placed in his room. This was done, 
and the aspen beds were burnt in a large fire, till only a 
little heap of ashes was left. 

Yet while they were burning the empress seemed to 
hear the same words, which she alone could under- 
stand. 

Then she stooped and gathered up the ashes, and 
scattered them to the four winds, so that they might 
blow over fresh lands and fresh seas, and nothing remain 
of them. 

But she had not seen that where the fire burnt 
brightest two sparks flew up, and, after floating in the air 
for a few moments, fell down into the great river that 
flows through the heart of the country. Here the sparks 
had turned into two little fishes with golden scales, and 
one was so exactly like the other that everyone could tell 
at the first glance that they must be twins. Early one 

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THE BOYS WITH THE GOLDEN STARS 305 

morning the emperor's fishermen went down to the river 
to get some fish for their master's breakfast, and cast 
their nets into the stream. As the last star twinkled out 
of the sky they drew them in, and among the multitude 
of fishes lay two with scales of gold, such as no man had 
ever looked on. 

They all gathered round and wondered, and after 
some talk they decided that they would take the little 
fishes alive as they were, and give them as a present to 
the emperor. 

' Do not take us there, for that is whence we came, 
and yonder lies our destruction/ said one of the fishes. 

k But what are we to do with you ? ' asked the 
fisherman. 

' Go and collect all the dew that lies on the leaves, 
and let us swim in it. Then lay us in the sun, and do 
not come near us till the sun's rays shall have dried off 
the dew,' answered the other fish. 

The fisherman did as they told him — gathered the 
dew from the leaves and let them swim in it, then put 
them to lie in the sun till the dew should be all dried 
up. 

And when he came back, what do you think he saw? 
Why, two boys, two beautiful young princes, with hair as 
golden as the stars on their foreheads, and each so like 
the other, that at the first glance every one would have 
known them for twins. 

The boys grew fast. In every day they grew a year's 
growth, and in every night another year's growth, but 
at dawn, when the stars were fading, they grew three 
years' growth in the twinkling of an eye. And they grew 
in other things besides height, too. Thrice in age, and 
thrice in wisdom, and thrice in knowledge. And when 
three days and three nights had passed they were twelve 
years in age, twenty-four in strength, and thirty-six in 
wisdom. 

k Now take us to our father/ said they. So the fisher- 
20 



306 THE BOYS WITH THE GOLDEN STARS 

man gave them each a lambskin cap which half covered 
their faces, and completely hid their golden hair and the 
stars on their foreheads, and led them to the court. 

By the time they arrived there it was midday, and 
the fisherman and his charges went up to an official 
who was standing about. 6 We wish to speak with the 
emperor,' said one of the boys. 

4 You must wait until he has finished his dinner,' 
replied the porter. 

' No, while he is eating it,' said the second boy step- 
ping across the threshold. 

The attendants all ran forward to thrust such impudent 
youngsters outside the palace, but the boys slipped 
through their fingers like quicksilver, and entered a large 
hall, where the emperor was dining, surrounded by his 
whole court. 

4 We desire to enter,' said one of the princes sharply 
to a servant who stood near the door. 

4 That is quite impossible,' replied the servant. 

' Is it? let us see! ' said the second prince, pushing the 
servants to right and left. 

But the servants were many, and the princes only two. 
There was the noise of a struggle, which reached the 
emperor's ears. 

4 What is the matter? ' asked he angrily. 

The princes stopped at the sound of their father's 
voice. 

4 Two boys who want to force their way in,' replied 
one of the servants, approaching the emperor. 

4 To force their way in? Who dares to use force in 
my palace? What boys are they?' said the emperor all 
in one breath. 

4 We know not, O mighty emperor,' answered the 
servant, 4 but they must surely be akin to you, for they 
have the strength of lions, and have scattered the guards 
at the gate. And they are as proud as they are strong, 
for they will not take their caps from their heads.' 




\=5na < »t*Hao^ wivn ^ na (SQUMffv-stsag/ 



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THE BOYS WITH THE GOLDEN STARS 309 

The emperor, as he listened, grew red with anger. 

1 Thrust them out,' cried he. ' Set the dogs after 
them.' 

' Leave us alone, and we will go quietly,' said the 
princes, and stepped backwards, weeping silently at the 
harsh words. They had almost reached the gates when a 
servant ran up to them. 

'The emperor commands you to return,' panted he: 
1 the empress wishes to see you.' 

The princes thought a moment: then they went back 
the way they had come, and walked straight up to the 
emperor, their caps still on their heads. 

He sat at the top of a long table covered with flowers 
and filled with guests. And beside him sat the empress, 
supported by twelve cushions. When the princes entered 
one of the cushions fell down, and there remained only 
eleven. 

' Take off your caps,' said one of the courtiers. 

' A covered head is among men a sign of honour. We 
wish to seem what we arc' 

4 Never mind,' said the emperor, whose anger had 
dropped before the silvery tones of the boy's voice. ' Stay 
as you are, but tell me ivho you are! Where do you 
come from, and what do you want? ' 

6 We are twins, two shoots from one stem, which has 
been broken, and half lies in the ground and half sits at 
the head of this table. We have travelled a long way ; 
we have spoken in the rustle of the wind, have whispered 
in the wood, we have sung in the waters, but now we 
wish to tell you a story which you know without knowing 
it, in the speech of men.' 

And a second cushion fell down. 

1 Let them take their silliness home,' said the empress. 

'Oh, no, let them go on,' said the emperor. 'Yon 
wished to see them, but I wish to hear them. Go on, 
boys, sing me the story.' 

The empress was silent, but the princes began to 
sing the story of their lives. 



310 THE BOYS WITH THE GOLDEN STARS 

1 There was once an emperor/ began they, and the 
third cushion fell down. 

When they reached the warlike expedition of the 
emperor three of the cushions fell down at once. 

And when the tale was finished there were no more 
cushions under the empress, but the moment that they 
lifted their caps, and showed their golden hair and the 
golden stars, the eyes of the emperor and of all his guests 
were bent on them, and they could hardly bear the power 
of so many glances. 




And there happened in the end what should have 
happened in the beginning. Laptitza sat next her 
husband at the top of the table. The stepmothers 
daughter became the meanest sewing maid in the palace, 
the stepmother was tied to a wild horse, and every one 
knew and has never forgotten that whoever has a mind 
turned to wickedness is sure to end badly. 

[Ruruanische Marehen.] 



311 



THE FROG 

Once upon a time there was a woman who had three 
sons. Though they were peasants they were well off, 
for the soil on which they lived was fruitful, and yielded 
rich crops. One day they all three told their mother 
they meant to get married. To which their mother 
replied : 'Do as you like, but see that you choose good 
housewives, who will look carefully after your affairs; 
and, to make certain of this, take with you these three 
skeins of flax, and give it to them to spin. Whoever 
spins the best will be my favourite daughter-in-law.' 

Now the two eldest sons had already chosen their 
wives; so they took the flax from their mother, and 
carried it off with them, to have it spun as she had said. 
But the youngest son was puzzled what to do with his 
skein, as he kuew no girl (never having spoken to any) to 
whom he could give it to be spun. He wandered hither 
and thither, asking the girls that he met if they would 
undertake the task for him, but at the sight of the flax 
they laughed in his face and mocked at him. Then in 
despair he left their villages, and went out into the 
country, and, seating himself on the bank of a pond 
began to cry bitterly. 

Suddenly there was a noise close beside him, and a 
frog jumped out of the water on to the bank and asked 
him why he was crying. The youth told her of his 
trouble, and how his brothers would bring home linen 
spun for them by their promised wives, but that no one 

would spin his ^B^itized by Microsotm 



312 THE FROG 

Then the frog answered : ' Do not weep on that 
account ; give me the thread, and I will spin it for 
you.' And, having said this, she took it out of his 
hand, and flopped back into the water, and the youth 
went back, not knowing what would happen next. 

In a short time the two elder brothers came home, and 
their mother asked to see the linen which had been 
woven out of the skeins of flax she had given them. 
They all three left the room ; and in a few minutes the 
two eldest returned, bringing with them the linen that 
had been spun by their chosen wives. But the youngest 
brother was greatly troubled, for he had nothing to show 
for the skein of flax that had been given to him. Sadly 
he betook himself to the pond, and sitting down on the 
bank, began to weep. 

Flop ! and the frog appeared out of the water close 
beside him. 

' Take this,' she said ; ; here is the linen that I have 
spun for you.' 

You may imagine how delighted the youth was. She 
put the linen into his hands, and he took it straight 
back to his mother, who was so pleased with it that she 
declared she had never seen linen so beautifully spun, 
and that it was far finer and whiter than the webs that the 
two elder brothers had brought home. 

Then she turned to her sons and said: 'But this is 
not enough, my sons, I must have another proof as to 
what sort of wives you have chosen. In the house there 
are three puppies. Each of you take one, and give it to 
the woman whom you mean to bring home as your wife. 
She must train it and bring it up. Whichever dog 
turns out the best, its mistress will be my favourite 
daughter-in-law.' 

So the young men set out on their different ways, 
each taking a puppy with him. The youngest, not 
knowing where to go, returned to the pond, sat down 
once more on the bank, and began to weep. 

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THE FROG 313 

Flop ! and close beside him, he saw the frog. ' Why 
are you weeping?' she said. Then he told her his 
difficulty, and that he did not know to whom he should 
take the puppy. 

' Give it to me/ she said, 'and I will bring it up for 
you.' And, seeing that the youth hesitated, she took 
the little creature out of his arms, and disappeared with it 
into the pond. 

The weeks and months passed, till one day the 
mother said she would like to see how the dogs had been 
trained by her future daughters-in-law. The two eldest 
sons departed, and returned shortly, leading with them 
two great mastiffs, who growled so fiercely, and looked 
so savage, that the mere sight of them made the mother 
tremble with fear. 

The youngest son, as was his custom, went to the pond, 
and called on the frog to come to his rescue. 

In a minute she was at his side, bringing with her 
the most lovely little dog, which she put into his arms. 
It sat up and begged with its paws, and went through 
the prettiest tricks, and was almost human in the way it 
understood and did what it was told. 

In high spirits the youth carried it off to his mother. 
As soon as she saw it, she exclaimed : ' This is the 
most beautiful little dog I have ever seen. You are 
indeed fortunate, my son ; you have won a pearl of a 
wife/ 

Then, turning to the others, she said : ' Here are 
three shirts ; take them to your chosen wives. Who- 
ever sews the best will be my favourite daughter-in- 
law. ' 

So the you ng men set out once more ; and agaiu, this 
time, the work of the frog was much the best and the 
neatest. 

This time the mother said : i Now that I am content 
with the tests I gave, I want you to go and fetch home 
your brides, and I will prepare the wedding-feast.' 



SU THE FROG 

You may imagine what the youngest brother felt on 
hearing these words. Whence was he to fetch a bride ? 
Would the frog be able to help him in this new difficulty? 
With bowed head, and feeling very sad, he sat down on 
the edge of the pond. 

Flop ! and once more the faithful frog was beside him. 

' What is troubling you so much ? ' she asked him, and 
then the youth told her everything. 

4 Will you take me for a wife ? ' she asked . 

' AVhat should I do with you as a wife,' he replied, 
wondering at her strange proposal. 

4 Once more, will you have me or will you not? ' she 
said. 

' I will neither have you, nor will I refuse you,' said he. 

At this the frog disappeared ; and the next minute 
the youth beheld a lovely little chariot, drawn by two 
tiny ponies, standing on the road. The frog was holding 
the carriage door open for him to step in. 

'Come with me,'" she said. And he got up and 
followed her into the chariot. 

As they drove along the road they met three witches ; 
the first of them was blind, the second was hunchbacked, 
and the third had a large thorn in her throat. When 
the three witches beheld the chariot, with the frog seated 
pompously among the cushions, they broke into such fits 
of laughter that the eyelids of the blind one burst open, 
and she recovered her sight ; the hunchback rolled about 
on the ground in merriment till her back became straight, 
and in a roar of laughter the thorn fell out of the throat 
of the third witch. Their first thought was to reward 
the frog, who had unconsciously been the means of curing 
them of their misfortunes. The first witch waved her 
magic wand over the frog, and changed her into the 
loveliest girl that had ever been seen. The second witch 
waved the wand over the tiny chariot and ponies, and 
they were turned into a beautiful large carriage with 
prancing horses, and a coachman on the seat. The 



THE FBOG 



3V5 



third witch gave the girl a magic purse, filled with 
money. Having done this, the witches disappeared, 
and the youth with his lovely bride drove to his 
mother's home. Great was the delight of the mother at 




2 j |1He Pitches iavc? 



her youngest son's good fortune. A beautiful house was 
built for them ; she was the favourite daughter-in-law ; 
everything went well with them, and they lived happily 
ever after. 

[From the Italian.] 

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316 



THE PRINCESS WHO WAS HIDDEN ' 
UNDERGROUND 

Once there was a king who had great riches, which, 
when he died, he divided among his three sons. The 
two eldest of these lived in rioting and feasting, and thus 
wasted and squandered their father's wealth till nothing 
remained, and they found themselves in want and misery. 
The youngest of the three sons, on the contrary, made 
good use of his portion. He married a wife and soon 
they had a most beautiful daughter, for whom, when 
she was grown up, he caused a great palace to be built 
underground, and then killed the architect who had 
built it. Next he shut up his daughter inside, and 
then sent heralds all over the world to make known 
that he who should find the king's daughter should have 
her to wife. If he were not capable of finding her then 
he must die. Many young men sought to discover her, 
but all perished in the attempt. 

After many had met their death thus, there came a 
young man, beautiful to behold, and as clever as he was 
beautiful, who had a great desire to attempt the enter- 
prise. First he went to a herdsman, and begged him to 
hide him in a sheepskin, which had a golden fleece, and 
in this disguise to take him to the king. The shepherd 
let himself be persuaded so to do, took a skin having a 
golden fleece, sewed the young man in it, putting in also 
food and drink, and so brought him before the king. 

When the latter saw the golden iamb, he asked the 
herd : < Will you sell me this lamb ? i 



PRINCESS HIDDEN UNDERGROUND 317 

Bat the herd answered : ' No, oh king ; I will not sell 
it; but if you find pleasure therein, I will be willing 
to oblige you, and I will lend it to you, free of charge, for 
three days, after that you must give it back to me.' 

This the king agreed to do, and he arose and took the 
lamb to his daughter. When he had led it into her palace, 
and through many rooms, he came to a shut door. Then 
he called ; Open, Sartara Martara of the earth ! ' and the 
door opened of itself. After that they went through many 
more rooms, and came to another closed door. Again the 
king called out : fc Open, Sartara Martara of the earth ! ' 
and this door opened like the other, and they came into 
the apartment where the princess dwelt, the floor, 
walls, and roof of which were all of silver. 

When the king had embraced the princess, he gave 
her the lamb, to her great joy. She stroked it, caressed 
it, and played with it. 

After a while the lamb got loose, which, when the 
princess saw, she said : ' See, father, the lamb is free.' 

But the king answered : ' It is only a lamb, why 
should it not be free ? ' 

Then he left the lamb with the princess, and went his 
way. 

In the night, however, the young man threw off the 
skin. When the princess saw how beautiful he was, she 
fell in love with him, and asked him : ' Why did you 
come here disguised in a sheepskin like that?' 

Then he answered : ' When I saw how many people 
sought you, and could not find you, and lost their lives in 
so doing, I invented this trick, and so I am come safely 
to you.' 

The princess exclaimed : i You have done well so to 
do; but you must know that your wager is not yet won, 
for my father will change me and my maidens into 
ducks, and will ask you, " Which of these ducks is the 
princess? " Then I will turn my head back, and with my 
bill will clean my wings, so that you may know me.' 



318 PRINCESS HIDDEN UNDERGROUND 

When they had spent three clays together, chatting 
and caressing one another, the herd came back to the 
king, and demanded his lamb. Then the king went to 
his daughter to bring it away, which troubled the 
princess very much, for she said they had played so 
nicely together. 

But the king said : ' I cannot leave it with you, my 
daughter, for it is only lent to me.' So he took it away 
with him, and gave it back to the shepherd. 

Then the young man threw the skin from off him, 
and went to the king, saying : ' Sire, I am persuaded I 
can find your daughter.' 

When the king saw how handsome he was, he said: 
4 My lad, I have pity on your youth. This enterprise 
has already cost the lives of many, and will certainly 
be your death as well.' 

But the young man answered, ' I accept your 
conditions, oh king; I will either find her or lose my 
head.' 

Thereupon he went before the king, who followed 
after him, till they came to the great door. Then the 
young man said to the king : ' Speak the words that it 
may open.' 

And the king answered : ' What are the words ? 
Shall I say something like this : u Shut ; shut ; shut " ? ' 

'No,' said he ; 'say " Open, Sartara Martara of the 
earth." ' 

When the king had so said, the door opened of itself, 
and they went in, while the king gnawed his moustache 
in anger. Then they came to the second door, where the 
same thing happened as at the first, and they went in 
and found the princess. 

Then spoke the king and said : ' Yes, truly, you have 
found the princess. Now I will turn her as well as all 
her maidens into ducks, and if you can guess which of 
these ducks is my daughter, then you shall have her 
to wife.' 



PBINCESS HIDDEN UNDERGROUND 319 

And immediately the king changed all the maidens 
into ducks, and he drove them before the young man, 
and said : ' Now show me which is my daughter.' 

Then the princess, according to their understanding, 
began to clean her wings with her bill, and the lad said : 
; She who cleans her wings is the princess.' 

Now the king could do nothing more but give her to 
the young man to wife, and they lived together in great 
joy and happiness. 

[From the German.] 



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320 



THE GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE 
A BOY 

Once upon a time there lived an emperor who was a 
great conqueror, and reigned over more countries than 
anyone in the world. And whenever he subdued a fresh 
kingdom, he only granted peace on condition that the 
king should deliver him one of his sons for ten years' 
service. 

Now on the borders of his kingdom lay a country 
whose emperor was as brave as his neighbour, and as 
long as he was young he was the victor in every war. 
But as years passed away, his head grew weary of making 
plans of campaign, and his people wanted to stay at 
home and till their fields, and at last he too felt that lie 
must do homage to the other emperor. 

One thing, however, held him back from this step 
which day by day he saw more clearly was the only one 
possible. His new over-lord would demand the service of 
one of his sons. And the old emperor had no son; only 
three daughters. 

Look on which side he would, nothing but ruin 
seemed to lie before him, and he became so gloomy, that 
his daughters were frightened, and did everything they 
could think of to cheer him up, but all to no purpose. 

At length one day^ when they were at dinner, the 
eldest of the three summoned up all her courage and said 
to her father : 

' What secret grief is troubling you ? Are your 
subjects discontented? or have we given you cause for 

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GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 321 

displeasure? To smooth away your wriukles, we would 
gladly shed our blood, for our lives are bound up in 
yours ; and this you know.' 

; My daughter,' answered the emperor, 4 what you say 
is true. Never have you given me one moment's pain. 
Yet now you cannot help me. Ah! wiiy is not one of 
you a boy ! ' 

4 1 don't understand/ she answered in surprise. 
'Tell us what is wrong : and though we are not boys, we 
are not quite useless ! ' 

4 But what can you do, my dear children? Spin, sew, 
and weave — that is all your learning. Only a warrior 
can deliver me now, a young giant who is strong to wield 
the battle-axe : whose sword deals deadly blows.' 

'But ichy do you need a son so much at present? 
Tell us all about it ! It will not make matters worse if 
we know ! ' 

4 Listen then, my daughters, and learn the reason of 
my sorrow. You have heard that as long as I was 
young no man ever brought an army against me without 
it costing him dear. But the years have chilled my 
blood and drunk my strength. And now the deer can 
roam the forest, my arrows will never pierce his heart ; 
strange soldiers w T ill set fire to. my houses and water their 
horses at my wells, and my arm cannot hinder them. 
No, my day is past, and the time has come when I too must 
bow my head under the yoke of my foe ! But who is to 
give him the ten years' service that is part of the price 
which the vanquished must pay? ' 

4 1 will,' cried the eldest girl, springing to her feet. 
But her father only shook his head sadly. 

4 Never will T bring shame upon you,' urged the girl. 
4 Let me go. Am 1 not a princess, and the daughter of 
an emperor? ' 

4 Go then ! ' he said. 

The brave girl's heart almost stopped beating from 

21 



322 GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 

joy, as she set about her preparations. She was not still 
for a single moment, but danced about the house, turning 
chests and wardrobes upside down. She set aside enough 
things for a whole year — dresses embroidered with gold 
and precious stones, and a great store of provisions. 
And she chose the most spirited horse in the stable, with 
eyes of flame, and a coat of shining silver. 

When her father saw her mounted and curvetting 
about the court, he gave her much wise advice, as to 
how she was to behave like the young man she appeared 
to be, and also how to behave as the girl she really was. 
Then he gave her his blessing, and she touched her 
horse with the spur. 

The silver armour of herself and her steed dazzled 
the eyes of the people as she darted past. She was soon 
out of sight, and if after a few miles she had not pulled 
up to allow her escort to join her, the rest of the journey 
would have been performed alone. 

But though none of his daughters were aware of the 
fact, the old emperor was a magician, and had laid his 
plans accordingly. He managed, unseen, to overtake his 
daughter, and throw a bridge of copper over a stream 
which she would have to cross. Then, changing himself 
into a wolf, he lay down under one of the arches, and 
waited. 

He had chosen his time well, and in about half an 
hour the sound of a horse's hoofs were heard. His feet 
were almost on the bridge, when a big grey wolf with 
grinning teeth appeared before the princess. With a deep 
growl that froze the blood, he drew himself up, and pre- 
pared to spring. 

The appearance of the wolf w r as so sudden and so 
unexpected, that the girl was almost paralysed, and 
never even dreamt of flight, till the horse leaped violently 
to one side. Then she turned him round, and urging him 
to his fullest speed, never drew rein till she saw the 
gates of the palace rising before her. 

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GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 323 

The old emperor, who had got back long since, came 
to the door to meet her, and touching her shining 
armour, he said, 4 Did I not tell you, my child, that flies 
do not make honey ? ' 

The days passed on, aud one morning the second 
princess implored her father to. allow her to try the 
adventure in which her sister had made such a failure. 
He listened unwillingly, feeling sure it was no use, but 
she begged so hard that in the end he consented, and 
having chosen her arms, she rode away. 

But though, unlike her sister, she was quite pre- 
pared for the appearance of the wolf when she reached 
the copper bridge, she showed no greater courage, and 
galloped home as fast as her horse could carry her. On 
the steps of the castle her father was standing, and as 
still trembling with fright she knelt at his feet, he said 
gently, 4 Did I not tell you, my child, that every bird is 
not caught in a net? ' 

The three girls stayed quietly in the palace for a little 
while, embroidering, spinning, weaving, and tending 
their birds and flowers, when early one morning, the 
youngest princess entered the door of the emperor's 
private apartments. ' My father, it is my turn now. 
Perhaps I shall get the better of that wolf ! ' 

' What, do you think you are braver than your sisters, 
vain little one? You who have hardly left your long 
clothes behind you ! ' but she did not mind being laughed 
at, and answered, 

4 For your sake, father, I would cut the devil himself 
into small bits, or even become a devil myself. I think 
I shall succeed, but if I fail, I shall come home without 
more shame than my sisters.' 

Still the emperor hesitated, but the girl petted and 
coaxed him till at last he said, 

' Well, well, if you must go, you must. It remains to 



324 GIRL WHO PRETEXDED TO BE A BOY 

be seen what I shall get by it, except perhaps a good 
laugh when I see you come back with your head bent 
and your eyes on the ground.' 

' He laughs best who laughs last,' said the princess. 

Happy at having got her way, the princess decided 
that the first thing to be done was to find some old white- 
haired boyard, whose advice she could trust, and then to 
be very careful in choosing her horse. So she went 
straight to the stables where the most beautiful horses in 
the empire were feeding in the stalls, but none of them 
seemed quite what she wanted. Almost in despair she 
reached the last box of all, which was occupied by her 
father's ancient war-horse, old and worn like himself, 
stretched sadly out on the straw. 

The girl's eyes filled with tears, and she stood gazing 
at him. The horse lifted his head, gave a little neigh, 
and said softly, ' You look gentle and pitiful, but I 
know it is your love for your father which makes you 
tender to me. Ah, what a warrior he was, and what 
good times we shared together ! But now I too have 
grown old, and my master has forgotten me, and there is 
no reason to care whether my coat is dull or shining. 
Yet, it is not too late, and if I were properly tended, 
in a week I could vie with any horse in the stables ! ' 

c And how should you be tended?' asked the girl. 

4 I must be rubbed dowu morning and evening 
with rain water, my barley must be boiled in milk, 
because of my bad teeth, and my feet must be washed 
in oil.' 

' I should like to try the treatment, as you might help 
me in carrying out my scheme.' 

' Try it then, mistress, and I promise you will never 
repent. ' 

So in a week's time the horse woke up one morning 
with a sudden shiver through all his limbs ; and when it 
had passed away, he found his skin shining like a mirror, 

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GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 325 

his body as fat as a water melon, his movement light as 
a chamois. 

Then looking at the princess, who had come early to 
the stable, he said joyfully, 

'May success await on the steps of my master's 
daughter, for she has given me back my life. Tell me 
what I can do for you, princess, and I will do it.' 

4 1 want to go to the emperor who is our over-lord, 
and I have no one to advise me. Which of all the 
white-headed boyards shall I choose as counsellor? ' 

4 If you have me, you need no one else : I will serve 
you as I served your father, if you will only listen to 
what I say.' 

4 1 will listen to everything. Can you start in three 
days ? ' 

4 This moment, if you like,' said the horse. 

The preparations of the emperor's youngest daughter 
were much fewer and simpler than those of her sisters. 
They only consisted of some boy's clothes, a small 
quantity of linen and food, and a little money in case of 
necessity. Then she bade farewell to her father, and 
rode away. 

A day's journey from the palace, she reached the 
copper bridge, but before they came in sight of it, the 
horse,- who was a magician, had warned her of the means 
her father would take to prove her courage. 

Still in spite of his warnings she trembled all over 
when a huge wolf, as thin as if he had fasted for a month, 
with claws like saws, and mouth as wide as an oven, 
bounded howling towards her. For a moment her heart 
failed her, but the next, touching the horse lightly with 
her spur, she drew her sword from its sheath, ready 
to separate the wolf's head from its body at a single 
blow. 

The beast saw the sword, and shrank back, which 

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326 GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 

was the best thing it could do, as now the girl's blood 
was up, and the light of battle in her eyes. Then with- 
out looking round, she rode across the bridge. 

The emperor, proud of this first victory, took a short 
cut, and waited for her at the end of another day's 
journey, close to a river, over which he threw a bridge of 
silver. And this time he took the shape of a lion. 

But the horse guessed this new danger and told the 
princess how to escape it. But it is one thing to receive 
advice when we feel safe and comfortable, and quite 
another to be able to carry it out when some awful peril 
is threatening us. And if the wolf had made the girl 
quake with terror, it seemed like a lamb beside this 
dreadful lion. 

At the sound of his roar the very trees quivered and 
his claws were so large that every one of them looked 
like a cutlass. 

The breath of the princess came and went, and her 
feet rattled in the stirrups. Suddenly the remembrance 
flashed across her of the wolf whom she had put to 
flight, and waving her sword, she rushed so violently on 
the lion that he had barely time to spring on one side, so 
as to avoid the blow. Then, like a flash, she crossed this 
bridge also. 

Now during her whole life, the princess had been so 
carefully brought up, that she had never left the gardens 
of the palace, so that the sight of the hills and valleys 
and tinkling streams, and the song of the larks and 
blackbirds, made her almost beside herself with wonder 
aud delight. She longed to get down and bathe her face 
in the clear pools, and pick the brilliant flowers, but the 
horse said ' No,' and quickened his pace, neither turning 
to the right or the left. 

4 Warriors,' he told her, 'only rest when they have 
won the victory. You have still another battle to fight, 
and it is the hardest of all.' 

This time it was neither a wolf nor a lion that was 

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GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO RE A BOY 329 

waiting for her at the end of the third day's journey, 
but a dragon with twelve heads, and a golden bridge 
behind it. 

The princess rode up without seeing anything to frighten 
her, when a sudden puff of smoke and flame from beneath 
her feet, caused her to look down, and there was the 
horrible creature twisted and writhing, its twelve heads 
reared up as if to seize her between them. 

The bridle fell from her hand : and the sword which 
she had just grasped slid back into its sheath, but the 
horse bade her fear nothing, and with a mighty effort 
she sat upright and spurred straight on the dragon. 

The fight lasted an hour and the dragon pressed her 
hard. But in the end, by a well-directed side blow, she 
cut off one of the heads, and with a roar that seemed to 
rend the heavens in two, the dragon fell back on the 
ground, and rose as a man before her. 

Although the horse had informed the princess the 
dragon was really her own father, the girl had hardly 
believed him, and stared in amazement at the trans- 
formation. But he flung his arms round her and pressed 
her to his heart saying, ' Now I see that you are as brave 
as the bravest, and as wise as the wisest. Yon have 
chosen the right horse, for without his help you would have 
returned with a bent head and downcast eyes. You have 
filled me with the hope that you may carry out the task 
you have undertaken, but be careful to forget none of 
my counsels, and above all to listen to those of your 
horse.' 

When he had done speaking, the princess knelt down 
to receive his blessing, and they went their different 
ways. 

The princess rode on and on, till at last she came to 
the mountains which hold up the roof of the world. 
There she met two Genii who had been fighting fiercely 
for two years, without one having got the least advantage 



330 GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 

over the other. Seeing what they took to be a young 
man seeking adventures, one of the combatants called 
out, 6 Fet-Fruuers! deliver me from my enemy, and I 
will give yon the horn that can be heard the distance of 
a three days' journey ; ' while the other cried, ' Fet- 
Frimers ! help me to conquer this pagan thief, and you 
shall have my horse, Sunlight.' 

Before answering, the princess consulted her own 
horse as to which offer she should accept, and he advised 
her to side with the genius who was master of Sunlight, 
his own younger brother, and still more active than 
himself. 

So the girl at once attacked the other genius, and soon 
clove his skull; then the one who was left victor 
begged her to come back with him to his house and he 
would hand her over Sunlight, as he had promised. 

The mother of the genius was rejoiced to see her son 
return safe and sound, and prepared her best room for 
the princess, who, after so much fatigue, needed rest badly. 
But the girl declared that she must first make her horse 
comfortable in his stable ; but this was really only an 
excuse, as she wanted to ask his advice on several matters. 

But the old woman had suspected from the very first 
that the boy who had come to the rescue of her son was 
a girl in disguise, and told the genius that she was 
exactly the wife he needed. The genius scoffed, and 
inquired what female hand could ever wield a sabre like 
that ; but, in spite of his sneers, his mother persisted, and 
as a proof of what she said, laid at night on each of their 
pillows a handful of magic flowers, that fade at the 
touch of man, but remain eternally fresh in the fingers 
of a woman. 

It was very clever of her, but unluckily the horse had 
warned the princess what to expect, and when the house 
was silent, she stole very softly to the genius's room, and 
exchanged his faded flowers for those she held. Then 
she crept back to her own bed and fell fast asleep. 



GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 331 

At break of day, the old woman ran to see her son, 
and found, as she knew she would, a bunch of dead 
flowers in his hand. She next passed on to the bedside 
of the princess, who still lay asleep grasping the withered 
flowers. But she did not believe any the more that her 
guest was a man, and so she told her son. So they put 
their heads together and laid another trap for her. 

After breakfast the genius gave his arm to his guest, 
and asked her to come with him into the garden. For 
some time they walked about looking at the flowers, the 
genius all the while pressing her to pick any she fancied. 
But the princess, suspecting a trap, inquired roughly why 
they were wasting the precious hours in the garden, 
when, as men, they should be iu the stables looking after 
their horses. Then the genius told his mother that she 
was quite wrong, and his deliverer was certainly a man. 
But the old woman was not convinced for all that. 

She would try once more she said, and her son must 
lead his visitor into the armoury, where hung every kind 
of weapon used all over the world — some plain and bare, 
others ornamented with precious stones — and beg her to 
make choice of one of them. The princess looked at 
them closely, and felt the edges and points of their 
blades, then she hung at her belt an old sword with a 
curved blade, that would have done credit to an ancient 
warrior. After this she informed the genius that she 
would start early next day and take Sunlight with her. 

And there was nothing for the mother to do but to 
submit, though she still stuck to her own opinion. 

The princess mounted Sunlight, and touched him with 
her spur, when the old horse, who was galloping at her 
side, suddenly said : 

' Up to this time, mistress, you have obeyed my 
counsels and all has gone well. Listen to me once more, 
and do what I tell yon. I am old, and — now that there 
is someone to take my place, I will confess it — I am afraid 



332 GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 

that my strength is not equal to the task that lies before 
me. Give me leave, therefore, to return home, and do 
you continue your journey under the care of my brother. 
Pat your faith in him as you put it in me, and you will 
never repent. Wisdom has come early to Sunlight.' 

' Yes, my old comrade, you have served me well ; and 
it is only through your help that up to now I have been 
victorious. So grieved though I am to say farewell, I 
will obey you yet once more, and will listen to your brother 
as I would to yourself. Only, I must have a proof that 
he loves me as well as you do/ 

i How should I not love you?' answered Sunlight; 
' how should I not be proud to serve a warrior such as 
you? Trust me, mistress, and you shall never regret 
the absence of my brother. I know there will be diffi- 
culties in our path, but we will face them together.' 

Then, with tears in her eyes, the princess took leave 
of her old horse, who galloped back to her father. 

She had ridden only a few miles further, when she 
saw a golden curl lying on the road before her. Checking 
her horse, she asked whether it would be better to take it 
or let it lie. 

c If you take it,' said Sunlight, ' you will repent, and 
if you don't, you will repent too : so take it.' On this the 
girl dismounted, and picking up the curl, wound it round 
her neck for safety. 

They passed by hills, they passed by mountains, they 
passed through valleys, leaving behind them thick forests, 
and fields covered with flowers; and at length they 
reached the court of the over-lord. 

He was sitting on his throne, surrounded by the sons 
of the other emperors, who served him as pages. These 
youths came forward to greet their new companion, and 
wondered why they felt so attracted towards him. 

However, there was no time for talking and conceal- 
ing her fright. The princess was led straight up to the 



GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 3o3 

throne, and explained, in a low voice, the reason of her 
coming. The emperor received her kindly, and declared 
himself fortunate at finding a vassal so brave and so 
charming, and begged the princess to remain in attendance 
on his person. 

She was, however, very careful in her behaviour 
towards the other pages, whose way of life did not please 
her. One day, however, she had been amusing herself 
by making sweetmeats, when two of the young princes 
looked in to pay her a visit. She offered them some of 
the food which was already on the table, and they 
thought it so delicious that they even licked their fingers 
so as not to lose a morsel. Of course they did not keep 
the news of their discovery to themselves, but told all 
their companions that they had just been enjoying the 
best supper they had had since they were born. And 
from that moment the princess was left no peace, till she 
had promised to cook them all a dinner. 

Now it happened that, on the very day fixed, all the 
cooks in the palace became intoxicated, and there was no 
one to make up the fire. 

When the pages heard of this shocking state of things, 
they went to their companion and implored her to come 
to the rescue. 

The princess was fond of cooking, and was, besides, 
very good-natured ; so she put on an apron and went 
down to the kitchen without delay. When the dinner 
was placed before the emperor he found it so nice that 
he ate much more than was good for him. The next 
morning, as soon as he woke, he sent for his head cook, 
and told him to send up the same dishes as before. The 
cook, seized with fright at this command, which he knew 
he could not fulfil, fell on his knees, and confessed the 
truth. 

The emperor was so astonished that he forgot to scold, 
and while he was thinking over the matter, some of his 
pages came in and said that their new companion had 



334 GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 

been heard to boast that he knew where Iliane was to be 
found — the celebrated Iliane of the song which begins : 

c Golden Hair 
The fields are green,' 

and that to their certain knowledge he had a curl of her 
hair in his possession. 

When he heard that, the emperor desired the page 
to be brought before him, and, as soon as the princess 
obeyed his summons, he said to her abruptly : 

' Fet-Fruners, you have hidden from me the fact that 
you knew the golden-haired Iliane ! Why did you do 
this? for I have treated you more kindly than all my 
other pages.' 

Then, after making the princess show him the golden 
curl which she wore round her neck, he added : ' Listen 
to me ; unless by some means or other you bring me the 
owner of this lock, I will have your head cut off in the 
place where you stand. Now go ! ' 

In vain the poor girl tried to explain how the lock of 
hair came into her possession ; the emperor would listen 
to nothing, and, bowing low, she left his presence and 
went to consult Sunlight what she was to do. 

At his first words she brightened up. < Do not be 
afraid, mistress; only last night my brother appeared to 
me in a dream and told me that a genius had carried off 
Iliane, whose hair you picked up on the road. But 
Iliane declares that, before she marries her captor, he 
must bring her, as a present, the whole stud of mares 
which belong to her. The genius, half crazy with love, 
thinks of nothing night and day but how this can be 
done, and meanwhile she is quite safe in the island 
swamps of the sea. Go back to the emperor and ask 
him for twenty ships filled with precious merchandise. 
The rest you shall know by-aud-by.' 

On hearing this advice, the princess went at once 
into the emperor's presence. 



GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 335 

' May a long life be yours, O Sovereign all mighty ! ' 
said she. ' I have come to tell you that I can do as you 
command if you will give me twenty ships, and load 
them with the most precious wares in your kingdom.' 

4 You shall have all that I possess if you will bring 
me the golden-haired Iliane,' said the emperor. 

The ships were soon ready, and the princess entered 
the largest and finest, with Sunlight at her side. Then 
the sails were spread and the voyage began. 

For seven weeks the wind blew them straight towards 
the west, and early one morning they caught sight of the 
island swamps of the sea. 

They cast anchor in a little bay, and the princess 
made haste to disembark with Sunlight, but, before leav- 
ing the ship, she tied to her belt a pair of tiny gold 
slippers, adorned with precious stones. Then mounting 
Sunlight, she rode about till she came to several palaces, 
built on hinges, so that they could always turn towards 
the sun. 

The most splendid of these was guarded by three 
slaves, whose greedy eyes were caught by the glistening 
gold of the slippers. They hastened up to the owner 
of these treasures, and inquired who he was. 4 A 
merchant,' replied the princess, 4 who had somehow missed 
his road, and lost himself among the island swamps of 
the sea.' 

Not knowing if it was proper to receive him or not, 
the slaves returned to their mistress and told her all they 
had seen, but not before she had caught sight of the 
merchant from the roof of her palace. Luckily her 
gaoler was away, always trying to catch the stud of 
mares, so for the moment she was free and alone. 

The slaves told their tale so well that their mistress 
insisted on going down to the shore and seeing the 
beautiful slippers for herself. They were even lovelier 
than she expected, and when the merchant besought her 



336 GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 

to come on board, and inspect some that he thought were 
finer still, her curiosity was too great to refuse, and she 
went. 

Once on board ship, she was so busy turning over 
all the precious things stored there, that she never knew 
that the sails were spread, and that they were flying 
along with the wind behind them ; and when she did 
know, she rejoiced in her heart, though she pretended to 
weep and lament at being carried captive a second time. 
Thus they arrived at the court of the emperor. 

They were just about to land, when the mother of the 
genius stood before them. She had learnt that Iliane 
had fled from her prison in company with a merchant, 
and, as her son was absent, had come herself in pursuit. 
Striding over the blue waters, hopping from wave to 
wave, one foot reaching to heaven, and the other planted 
in the foam, she was close at their heels, breathing fire 
and flame, when they stepped on shore from the ship. 
One glance told Iliane who the horrible old woman was, 
and she whispered hastily to her companion. Without 
saying a word, the princess swung her into Sunlight's 
saddle, and leaping up behind her, they were off like a 
flash. 

It was not till they drew near the town that the princess 
stooped and asked Sunlight what they should do. ; Put 
your hand into my left ear,' said he, ' and take out a sharp 
stone, which you must throw behind you.' 

The princess did as she was told, and a huge moun- 
tain sprang up behind them. The mother of the genius 
began to climb up it, and though they galloped quickly, 
she was quicker still. 

They heard her coming, faster, faster; and again the 
princess stooped to ask what was to be done now. ' Put 
your hand into my rignt ear/ said the horse, 'and throw 
the brush you will find there behind you.' The princess 
did so, and a great forest sprang up behind them, and, so 



tffcGIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 337 

thick were its leaves, that even a wren could not get 
.through. But the old woman seized hold of the branches 
and flung herself like a monkey from one to the others, 
and always she drew nearer — always, always — till their 
hair was singed by the flames of her mouth. 




Then, in despair, the princess again bent down and 
asked if there was nothing more to be done, and Sunlight 
replied ' Quick, quick, take off the betrothal ring on the 
finger of Iliane and throw it behind you.' 



338 GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 

This time there sprang up a great tower of stone, 
smooth as ivory, hard as steel, which reached up to 
heaven itself. And the mother of the genius gave a howl 
of rage, knowing that she could neither climb it nor get 
through it. But she was not beaten yet, and gathering 
herself together, she made a prodigious leap, which 
landed her on the top of the tower, right in the middle 
of Iliane's ring which lay there, and held her tight. 
Only her claws could be seen grasping the battlements. 

All that could be done the old witch did ; but the fire 
that poured from her mouth never reached the fugitives, 
though it laid waste the country a hundred miles round the 
tower, like the flames of a volcano. Then, with one last 
effort to free herself, her hands gave way, and, falling 
down to the bottom of the tower, she was broken in pieces. 

When the flying princess saw what had happened she 
rode back to the spot, as Sunlight counselled her, and placed 
her finger on the top of the tower, which was gradually 
shrinking into the earth. In an instant the tower had 
vanished as if it had never been, and in its place was the 
finger of the princess with a ring round it. 

The emperor received Tliane with all the respect that 
was due to her, and fell in love at first sight besides. 

But this did not seem to please Iliane, whose face was 
sad as she walked about the palace or gardens, wondering 
how it was that, while other girls did as they liked, she 
was always in the power of someone whom she hated. 

So when the emperor asked her to share his throne, 
Iliane answered : 

' Noble Sovereign, I may not think of marriage till my 
stud of horses has been brought me, with their trappings 
all complete.' 

When he heard this, the emperor once more sent for 
Fet-Fruners, and said : 

< Fet-Fruners, fetch me instantly the stud of mares, 
with their trappings all complete. If not, your head shalj 
pay the forf^ /feed by M!crosoft Q 



GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 339 

' Mighty Emperor, I kiss your hands ! I have but just 
returned from doing your bidding, and, behold, you send 
me on another mission, and stake my head on its fulfil- 
ment, when your court is full of valiant young men, 
pining to win their spurs. They say you are a just man ; 
then why not entrust this quest to one of them? Where 
am I to seek these mares that I am to bring you? ' 

1 How do I know ? They may be anywhere in heaven 
or earth ; but, wherever they are, you will have to find 
them.' 

The princess bowed and went to consult Sunlight. 
He listened while she told her tale, and then said : 

4 Fetch quickly nine buffalo skins ; smear them well 
with tar, and lay them on my back. Do not fear; you 
will succeed in this also ; but, in the end, the emperor's 
desires will be his undoing/ 

The buffalo skins were soon got, and the princess 
started off with Sunlight. The way was long and difficult, 
but at length they reached the place where the mares 
were grazing. Here the genius who had carried off 
Iliane was wandering about, trying to discover how to 
capture them, all the while believing that Iliane was safe 
in the palace where he had left her. 

As soon as she caught sight of him, the princess went 
up and told him that Iliane had escaped, and that his 
mother, in her efforts to recapture her, had died of rage. 
At this news a blind fury took possession of the genius, 
and he rushed madly upon the princess, who awaited his 
onslaught with perfect calmness. As he came on, with 
his sabre lifted high in the air, Sunlight bounded right 
over his head, so that the sword fell harmless. And when 
in her turn the princess prepared to strike, the horse sank 
upon his knees, so that the blade pierced the genius's 
thigh. 

The fight was so fierce that it seemed as if the earth 
would give way under them, and for twenty miles round 
the beasts in the forest fled to their caves for shelter. 



340 GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 

At last, when her strength was almost gone, the genius 
lowered his sword for an instant. The princess saw her 
chance, and, with one swoop of her arm, severed her 
enemy's head from his body. Still trembling from the 
long struggle, she turned away, and went to the meadow 
where the stud were feeding. 

By the advice of Sunlight, she took care not to let 
them see her, and climbed a thick tree, where she could 
see and hear without being seen herself. Then he neighed, 
and the mares came galloping up, eager to see the new 
comer— all but one horse, who did not like strangers, and 
thought they were very well as they were. As Sunlight 
stood his ground, well pleased with the attention paid 
him, this sulky creature suddenly advanced to the charge, 
and bit so violently that had it not been for the nine 
buffalo skins Sunlight's last moment would have come. 
When the fight was ended, the buffalo skins were in 
ribbons, and the beaten animal writhing with pain on the 
grass. 

Nothing now remained to be done but to drive the 
whole stud to the emperor's court. So the princess came 
down from the tree and mounted Sunlight, while the 
stud followed meekly after, the wounded horse bringing 
up the rear. On reaching the palace, she drove them into 
a yard, and went to inform the emperor of her arrival. 

The news was told at once to Iliane, who ran down 
directly and called them to her one by one, each mare by 
its name. And at the first sight of her the wounded 
animal shook itself quickly, and in a moment its wounds 
were healed, and there was not even a mark on its glossy 
skin. 

By this time the emperor, on hearing where she was, 
joined her in the yard, and at her request ordered the 
mares to be milked, so that both he and she might bathe in 
the milk and keep young for ever. But they would suffer 
no one to come near them, and the princess was com- 
manded to perform this service also. 



GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 341 

At this, the heart of the girl swelled within her. The 
hardest tasks were always given to her, and long before 
the two years were up, she would be worn out and useless. 
But while these thoughts passed through her mind, a 
fearful rain fell, such as no man remembered before, and 
rose till the mares were standing up to their knees in 
water. Then as suddenly it stopped, and, behold! the 
water was ice, which held the animals firmly in its grasp. 
And the princess's heart grew light again, and she sat 
down gaily to milk them, as if she had done it every 
morning of her life. 

The love of the emperor for Iliane waxed greater day 
by day, but she paid no heed to him, and always had an 
excuse ready to put off their marriage. At length, when 
she had come to the end of everything she could think of, 
she said to him one day : ' Grant me, Sire, just one request 
more, and then I will really marry you ; for you have 
waited patiently this long time.' 

' My beautiful dove,' replied the emperor, ' both I and 
all I possess are yours, so ask your will, and you shall 
have it.' 

' Get me, then,' she said, ' a flask of the holy water that 
is kept in a little church beyond the river Jordan, and I 
will be your wife.' 

Then the emperor ordered Fet-Fruners to ride without 
delay to the river Jordan, and to bring back, at whatever 
cost, the holy water for Iliane. 

' This, my mistress,' said Sunlight, when she was 
saddling him, ' is the last and most difficult of your tasks. 
But fear nothing, for the hour of the emperor has 
struck.' 

So they started ; and the horse, who was not a wizard 
for nothing, told the princess exactly where she was to 
look for the holy water. 

; It stands,' he said, ' on the altar of a little church, 
and is guarded by a troop of nuns. They never sleep, 



342 GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 

night or day, but every now and then a hermit comes to 
visit them, and from him they learn certain things it is 
needful for them to know. When this happens, only one 
of the nuns remains on guard at a time, and if we are 
lucky enough to hit upon this moment, we may get hold 
of the vase at once ; if not, we shall have to wait the 
arrival of the hermit, however long it may be ; for there 
is no other means of obtaining the holy water/ 

They came in sight of the church beyond the Jordan, 
and, to their great joy, beheld the hermit just arriving at 
the door. They could hear him calling the nuns around 
him, and saw them settle themselves under a tree, with 
the hermit in their midst — all but one, who remained on 
guard, as was the custom. 

The hermit had a great deal to say, and the day was 
very hot, so the nun, tired of sitting by herself, lay down 
right across the threshold, and fell sound asleep. 

Then Suulight told the princess what she was to do, 
and the girl stepped softly over the sleeping nun, and 
crept like a cat along the dark aisle, feeling the wall with 
her fingers, lest she should fall over something and ruin 
it all by a noise. But she reached the altar in safety, and 
found the vase of holy water standing on it. This she 
thrust into her dress, and went back with the same care 
as she came. With a bound she was in the saddle, and 
seizing the reins bade Sunlight take her home as fast as 
his legs could carry him. 

The sound of the flying hoofs aroused the nun, who 
understood instantly that the precious treasure was stolen, 
and her shrieks were so loud and piercing that all the 
rest came flying to see what was the matter. The hermit 
followed at their heels, but seeing it was impossible to 
overtake the thief, he fell on his knees and called his 
most deadly curse down on her head 3 praying that if the 
thief was a man, he might become a woman ; and if she 
was a woman, that she might become a man. In either 
case he thought that the punishment would be severe. 



GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 343 

But punishments are things about which people do 
not always agree, and when the princess suddenly felt she 
was really the man she had pretended to be, she was 
delighted, and if the hermit had only been within reach 
she would have thanked him from her heart. 

By the time she reached the emperor's court, Fet- 
Fruners looked a young man all over in the eyes of 
everyone ; and even the mother of the genius would now 
have had her doubts set at rest. He drew forth the vase 
from his tunic and held it up to the emperor, saying: 
'Mighty Sovereign, all hail! I have fulfilled this task also, 
and I hope it is the last you have for me ; let another now 
take his turn.' 

c I am content, Fet-Fruners,' replied the emperor, ' and 
when I am dead it is you who will sit upon my throne ; 
for I have yet no son to come after me. But if one is 
given me, and my dearest wish is accomplished, then 
you shall be his right hand, and guide him with your 
counsels.' 

But though the emperor was satisfied, Hiane was not, 
and she determined to revenge herself on the emperor for 
the dangers which he had caused Fet-Fruners to run. 
And as for the vase of holy water, she thought that, in 
eoznmon politeness, her suitor ought to have fetched it 
himself, which he could have done without any risk at 
all. 

So she ordered the great bath to be filled with the 
milk of her mares, and begged the emperor to clothe him- 
self in white robes, and enter the bath with her, an invi- 
tation he accepted with joy. Then, when both were 
standing with the milk reaching to their necks, she sent 
for the horse which had fought Sunlight, and made a 
secret sign to him. The horse understood what he was 
to do, and from one nostril he breathed fresh air over 
Uiane, and from the other, he snorted a burning wind 

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344 GIRL WHO PRETENDED TO BE A BOY 

which shrivelled up the emperor where he stood, leaving 
only a little heap of ashes. 

His strange death, which no one could explain, made 
a great sensation throughout the country, and the funeral 
his people gave him was the most splendid ever known. 
When it was over, Iliane summoned Fet-Fruners before 
her, and addressed him thus : 

' Fet-Fruners ! it is you who brought me and have 
saved my life, and obeyed my wishes. It is you who 
gave me back my stud ; you who killed the genius, and 
the old witch his mother ; you who brought me the holy 
water. And you, and none other, shall be m} T husband/ 

4 Yes, I will marry you,' said the young man, with a 
voice almost as soft as when he was a princess. ' But 
know that in our house, it will be the cock who sings and 
not the hen ! ' 

[From Sept Contes Roumains Julea Brun and Leo Bachelin.] 



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345 



THE STORY OF HALFMAN 

In a certain town there lived a judge who was married 
but had no children. One day he was standing lost in 
thought before his house, when an old man passed by. 

4 What is the matter, sir/ said he ; c you look 
troubled? ' 

i Oh, leave me alone, my good man! ' 

' But what is it? ' persisted the other. 

' Well, I am successful in my profession and a person 
of importance, but I care nothing for it all, as I have no 
children.' 

Then the old man said, ' Here are twelve apples. If 
your wife eats them, she will have twelve sons,' 

The judge thanked him joyfully as he took the apples, 
and went to seek his wife. ' Eat these apples at once/ 
he cried, ; and you will have twelve sons.' 

So she sat down and ate eleven of them, but just as 
she was in the middle of the twelfth her sister came in, 
and she gave her the half that was left. 

The eleveu sons came into the world, strong and 
handsome boys; but when the twelfth was born, there 
was only half of him. 

By- and- by they all grew into men, and one day they 
told their father it was high time he found wives for 
them. ' I have a brother,' he answered, i who lives away 
in the East, and he has twelve daughters ; go and marry 
them.' So the twelve sons saddled their horses and rode 
for twelve days, till they met an old woman. 

4 Good greeting to you, young men ! ' said she, ' we have 



346 THE STORY OF HALFMAN 

waited loog for you, your uncle aud I. The girls have 
become women, aud are sought in marriage by many, but 
I knew you would come one day, and I have kept them for 
you. Follow me into my house.' 

And the twelve brothers followed her gladly, and their 
father's brother stood at the door, aud gave them meat 
and drink. But at night, when every one was asleep, 
Half man crept softly to his brothers, and said to them, 
' Listen, all of you ! This man is no uncle of ours, but 
an ogre.' 

4 Nonsense; of course he is our uncle/ answered they. 

i Well, this very night you will see ! ' said Halfman. 
And he did not go to bed, but hid himself and watched. 

Now in a little while he saw the wife of the ogre steal 
into the room on tiptoe and spread a red cloth over the 
brothers and then go and cover her daughters with a 
white cloth. After that she lay down and was soon 
snoring loudly. When Halfman was quite sure she was 
sound asleep, he took the red cloth from his brothers and 
put it on the girls, and laid their white cloth over his 
brothers. Next he drew their scarlet caps from their 
heads and exchanged them for the veils which the ogre's 
daughters were wearing. This was hardly done when he 
heard steps coming along the floor, so he hid himself 
quickly in the folds of a curtain. There was only half 
of him ! 

The ogress came slowly and gently along, stretching 
out her hands before her, so that she might not fall 
against anything unawares, for she had only a tiny 
lantern slung at her waist, which did not give much light. 
And when she reached the place where the sisters were 
lying, she stooped down and held a corner of the cloth 
up to the lantern. Yes! it certainly was red! Still, to 
make sure that there was no mistake, she passed her 
hands lightly over their heads, and felt the caps that 
covered them. Then she was quite certain the brothers 
lay sleeping before her, and began to kill them one by 



THE STORY OF HALFMAN 347 

one. And Halfman whispered to his brothers, 'Get up 
and run for your lives, as the ogress is killing her 
daughters.' The brothers needed no second bidding, and 
in a moment were out of the house. 

By this time the ogress had slain all her daughters 
but one, who awoke suddenly and saw what had happened. 
'Mother, what are you doing?' cried she. 'Do you 
know that you have killed my sisters? 7 

' Oh, woe is me! ' wailed the ogress. 'Halfman has 
outwitted me after all ! ' And she turned to wreak ven- 
geance on him, but he and his brothers were far away. 

They rode all day till they got to the town where 
their real uncle lived, and inquired the way to his house. 

'Why have you been so long in coming?' asked he, 
when they had found him. 

'Oh, dear uncle, we were very nearly not coming at 
all ! ' replied they. ' We fell in with an ogress who took 
us home and would have killed us if it had not been for 
Halfman. He knew what was in her mind and saved 
us, and here we are. Now give us each a daughter to 
wife, and let us return whence we came.' 

' Take them ! ' said the uncle ; ' the eldest for the eldest, 
the second for the second, and so on to the youngest.' 

But the wife of Halfman was the prettiest of them all, 
and the other brothers were jealous and said to each other : 
'What, is he who is only half a man to get the best? 
Let us put him to death and give his wife to our eldest 
brother ! ' And they waited for a chance. 

After they had all ridden, in company with their 
brides, for some distance, they arrived at a brook, and one 
of them asked, ' Now, who will go and fetch water from 
the brook ? ' 

' Halfman is the youngest,' said the elder brother, ' he 
must go.' 

So Halfman got down and filled a skin with water, 
and they drew it up by a rope and drank. When they 
had done drinking, Halfman, who was standing in the 



348 THE STORY OF HALFMAN 

middle of the stream, called out : 4 Throw me the rope 
and draw me up, for I cannot get out alone.' And the 
brothers threw him a rope to draw him up the steep 
bank ; but when he was half-way up they cut the rope, 
and he fell back into the stream. Then the brothers 
rode away as fast as they could, with his bride. 

Half man sank down under the water from the force of 
the fall, but before he touched the bottom a fish came and 
said to him, c Fear nothing, Halfman ; I will help you.' And 
the fish guided him to a shallow place, so that he scrambled 
out. On the way it said to him, ' Do you understand what 
your brothers, whom you saved from death, have done to 
you?' 

4 Yes ; but what am I to do?' asked Halfman. 

4 Take one of my scales,' said the fish, ' and when you 
find yourself in danger, throw it in the fire. Then I will 
appear before you.' 

'Thank you,' said Halfman, and went his way, while 
the fish swam back to its home. 

The country was strange to Halfman, and he 
wandered about without knowing where he was going, 
till he suddenly found the ogress standing before him. 
4 Ah, Halfman, have I got you at last? You killed my 
daughters and helped your brothers to escape. What do 
you think I shall do with you ? ' 

' Whatever you like! ' said Halfman. 

4 Come into my house, then,' said the ogress, and he 
followed her. ' Look here ! ' she called to her husband, 
4 1 have got hold of Halfman. I am going to roast him, 
so be quick and make up the fire ! ' 

So the ogre brought wood, and heaped it up till the 
flames roared up the chimney. Then he turned to his 
wife and said : ' It is all ready, let us put him on ! ' 

4 What is the hurry, my good ogre?' asked Halfman. 
' You have me in your power, and I cannot escape. I am 
so thin now, I shall hardly make one mouthful. Better 
fatten me up ; you will enjoy me much more.' 



THE STORY OF HALF MAN 349 

' That is a very sensible remark,' replied the ogre : 
* but what fattens you quickest? ' 

' Butter, meat, and red wine,' answered Half man. 

' Very good ; we will lock you into this room, and here 
you shall stay till you are ready for eating.' 

So Half man was locked into the room, and the ogre 
and his wife brought him his food. At the end of three 
months he said to his gaolers : ' Now I have got quite fat ; 
take me out, and kill me.' 

' Get out, then ! ' said the ogre. 

' But,' went on Half man, ' you and your wife had better 
go to invite your friends to the feast, and your daughter 
can stay in the house and look after me ! ' 

6 Yes, that is a good idea,' answered they. 

' Yon had better bring the wood in here,' continued 
Halfman, ' and I will split it up small, so that there may 
be no delay in cooking me.' 

So the ogress gave Halfman a pile of wood and an axe, 
and then set out with her husband, leaving Halfman and 
her daughter busy in the house. 

After he had chopped for a little while he called to the 
girl, ' Come and help me, or else I shan't have it all 
ready when your mother gets back.' 

' All right/ said she, and held a billet of wood for him 
to chop. But he raised his axe and cut off her head, 
and ran away like the wind. By-and-by the ogre and 
his wife returned and found their daughter lying without 
her head, and they began to cry and sob, saying, l This is 
Half man's work, why did we listen to him?' But Half- 
man was far away. 

When he escaped from the house he ran on straight 
before him for some time, looking for a safe shelter, as 
he knew that the ogre's legs were much longer than his, 
and that it was his only chance. At last he saw an iron 
tower which he climbed up. Soon the ogre appeared, 
looking right and left lest his prey should be sheltering 
behind a rock or tree, but he did not know Halfman 



350 THE STORY OF HALFMAN 

was so near till he heard his voice calling, ' Coine up ' 
come up ! you will find me here ! ' 

1 But how can I come up ? ' said the ogre, ' I see no 
door, and I could not possibly climb that tower/ 

' Oh, there is no door,' replied Half man. 

i Then how did you climb up ? ' 

4 A fish carried me on his back/ 

' And what am I to do ? ' 

' You must go and fetch all your relations, and tell 
them to bring plenty of sticks ; then you must light 
a fire, and let it burn till the tower becomes red hot. 
After that you can easily throw it down.' 

' Very good,' said the ogre, and he went round to every 
relation he had, and told them to collect wood and bring 
it to the tower where Halfman was. The men did as 
they were ordered, and soon the tower was glowing like 
coral, but when they flung themselves against it to over- 
throw it, they caught themselves on fire and were burnt 
to death. And overhead sat Halfman, laughing heartily. 
But the ogre's wife was still alive, for she had taken no 
part in kindling the fire. 

4 Oh,' she shrieked with rage, ' you have killed my 
daughters and my husband, and all the men belonging 
to me ; how can I get at you to avenge myself ? ' 

1 Oh, that is easy enough,' said Halfman. i I will let 
down a rope, and if you tie it tightly round you, I will 
draw it up/ 

1 All right,' returned the ogress, fastening the rope 
which Halfman let down. 'Now pull me up/ 

i Are you sure it is secure ? ' 

' Yes, quite sure/ 

' Don't be afraid/ 

'Oh, I am not afraid at all ! ' 

So Halfman slowly drew her up, and when she was 
near the top he let go the rope, and she fell down and 
broke her neck. Then Halfman heaved a great sigh and 

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THE STORY OF HALF MAN 351 

said, * That was hard work ; the rope has hurt my hands 
badly, but now I am rid of her for ever.' 

So Half man came down from the tower, and went on, 
till he got to a desert place, and as he was very tired, he 
lay down to sleep. While it was still dark, an ogress 
passed by, and she woke him and said, 4 Halfman, to- 
morrow your brother is to marry your wife.' 

4 Oh, how can I stop it ? ' asked he. ' Will you help 
me?' 

4 Yes, I will,' replied the ogress. 

'Thank you, thank you!' cried Halfman, kissing her 
on the forehead. 4 My wife is dearer to me than anything 
else in the world, and it is not my brother's fault that I 
am not dead long ago.' 

* Very well, I will rid you of him,' said the ogress, 
4 but only on one condition. If a boy is born to you, you 
mast give him to me ! ' 

4 Oh, anything,' answered Halfman, 4 as long as you 
deliver me from my brother, and get ine my wife.' 

4 Mount on my back, then, and in a quarter of an hour 
we shall be there.' 

The ogress was as good as her word, and in a few 
minutes they arrived at the outskirts of the town where 
Halfman and his brothers lived. Here she left him, while 
she went into the town itself, and found the wedding 
guests just leaving the brother's house. Unnoticed by 
anyone, the ogress crept into a curtain, changing 
herself into a scorpion, and when the brother was going 
to get into bed, she stung him behind the ear, so that he 
fell dead where he stood. Then she returned to Halfman 
and told him to go and claim his bride. He jumped up 
hastily from his seat, and took the road to his father's 
house. As he drew near he heard sounds of weeping and 
lamentations, and he said to a man he met: ( What is 
the matter? ' 

4 The judge's eldest son was married yesterday, and 
died suddenly before night.' 



352 THE STORY OF HALFMAN 

4 Well,' thought Halfman, ' ray conscience is clear 
anyway, for it is quite plain he coveted my wife, and that 
is why he tried to drown me.' He went at once to his 
father's room, and found him sitting in tears on the floor. 
4 Dear father,' said Half man, ' are you not glad to see me? 
You weep for my brother, but I am your son too, and he 
stole my bride from me and tried to drown me in the 
brook. If he is dead, I at least am alive.' 

' No, no, he was better than you ! ' moaned the father. 

' Why, dear father? ' 

4 He told me you had behaved very ill,' said he. 

'Well, call my brothers,' answered Half man, 'as I 
have a story to tell them.' So the father called them 
all into his presence. Then Halfman began: ' After we 
were twelve days' journey from home, we met an ogress, 
who gave us greeting and said, tb Why have you been so 
long coming? The daughters of your uncle have waited 
for you in vain," and she bade us follow her to the house, 
saying, "Now there need be no more delay; you can 
marry your cousins as soon as you please, and take them 
with you to your own home." But I warned my brothers 
that the man was not our uncle, but an ogre. 

' When we lay down to sleep, she spread a red cloth 
over us, and covered her daughters with a white one; 
but I changed the cloths, and when the ogress came back 
in the middle of the night, and looked at the cloths, she 
mistook her own daughters for my brothers, and killed 
them one by one, all but the youngest. Then I woke my 
brothers, and we all stole softly from the house, and we 
rode like the wind to our real uncle. 

'And when he saw us, he bade us welcome, and 
married us to his twelve daughters, the eldest to the 
eldest, and so on to me, whose bride was the youngest of 
all and also the prettiest. And my brothers were filled 
with envy, and left me to drown in a brook, but I was 
saved by a fish who showed me how to get out. Now, 

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THE STORY OF HALF MAN 353 

you are a judge! Who did well, and who did evil — I or 
my brothers ? ' 

4 Is this story true?' said the father, turning to his 
sons. 

4 It is true, my father/ answered they. ' It is even as 
Half man has said, and the girl belongs to him/ 

Then the judge embraced Halfman and said to him : 
' You have done well, my son. Take your bride, and may 
you both live long and happily together ! ' 

At the end of the year Half man's wife had a son, and 
not long after she came one day hastily into the room, 
and found her husband weeping. 4 What is the matter? ' 
she asked. 

4 The matter? ' said he. 

4 Yes, why are you weeping?' 

'Because/ replied Halfman, 'the baby is not really 
ours, but belongs to an ogress.' 

4 Are you mad? ' cried the wife. 4 What do you mean 
by talking like that ? ' 

4 I promised,' said Halfman, 4 when she undertook to 
kill my brother and to give you to me, that the first son we 
had should be hers.' 

4 And will she take him from us now ? ' said the poor 
woman. 

4 No, not quite yet/ replied Halfman ; ! when he is 
bigger.' 

4 And is she to have all our children? ' asked she. 

4 No, only this one/ returned Halfman. 

Day by day the boy grew bigger, and one day as 
he was playing in the street with the other children, 
the ogress came by. 4 Go to your father/ she said, 4 and 
repeat this speech to him: 44 1 want my forfeit; when am 
I to have it?'" 

4 All right/ replied the child, but when he went home 
forgot all about it. The next day the ogress came again, 
and asked the boy what answer the father had given. 4 1 
forgot all about it/ said he. 

23 



354 THE STORY OF HALF MAN 

' Well, put this ring on your finger, and then you 
won't forget.' 

' Very well,' replied the boy, and went home. 

The next morning, as he was at breakfast, his mother 
said to him, ' Child, where did you get that ring? ' 

' A woman gave it to me yesterday, and she told me, 
father, to tell you that she wanted her forfeit, and when 
was she to have it? ' 

Then his father burst into tears and said, ' If she 
comes again you must say to her that your parents bid 
her take her forfeit at once, and depart.' 

At this they both began to weep afresh, and his mother 
kissed him, and put on his new clothes and said, ' If the 
woman bids you to follow her, you must go,' but the boy 
did not heed her grief, he was so pleased with his new 
clothes. And when he went out, he said to his play- 
fellows, ' Look how smart I am ; I am going away with 
my aunt to foreign lands. ' 

At that moment the ogress came up and asked him, 
' Did you give my message to your father and mother? ' 

' Yes, dear aunt, I did.' 

4 And what did they say ? ' 

1 Take it away at once ! ' 

So she took him. 

But when dinner-time came, and the boy did not re- 
turn, his father and mother knew that he would never 
come back, and they sat down and wept all day. At last 
Halfman rose up and said to his wife, ' Be comforted ; 
we will wait a year, and then I will go to the ogress and 
see the boy, and how he is cared for.' 

' Yes, that will be the best,' said she. 

The year passed away, then Halfman saddled his 
horse, and rode to the place where the ogress had found 
him sleeping. She was not there, but not knowing what 
to do next, he got off his horse and waited. About mid- 
night she suddenly stood before him. 

4 Halfman, why did you come here? ' said she. 



THE STORY OF HALFMAN 355 

' I have a question I want to ask you.' 

1 Well, ask it ; but I know quite well what it is. Your 
wife wishes you to ask whether I shall carry off your 
second son as I did the first.' 

' Yes, that is it,' replied Halfman. Then he seized her 
hand and said, ' Oh, let me see my son, and how he looks, 
and what he is doing.' 

The ogress was silent, but stuck her staff hard in the 
earth, and the earth opened, and the boy appeared and 
said, k Dear father, have you come too?' And his father 
clasped him in his arms, and began to cry. But the boy 
struggled to be free, saying ' Dear father, put me down. 
I have got a new mother, who is better than the old one ; 
and a new father, who is better than you.' 

Then his father sat him down and said, 'Go in peace, 
my boy, but listen first to me. Tell your father the ogre 
and your mother the ogress, that never more shall they 
have any children of mine.' 

1 All right,' replied the boy, and called ' Mother! ' 

'What is it?' 

' You are never to take away any more of my father 
and mother's children ! ' 

' Now that I have got you, I don't want any more,' 
answered she. 

Then the boy turned to his father and said, 4 Go in 
peace, dear father, and give my mother greeting and tell 
her not to be anxious any more, for she can keep all her 
children.' 

And Halfman mounted his horse and rode home, aud 
told his wife all he had seen, and the message sent by 
Mohammed — Mohammed the son of Halfman, the son 
of the judge. 

I M'archen und Gedic/Ue aus der Stadt Tripolis. Hans von Stumue.] 



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356 THE PRINCE WHO WANTED 



THE PRINCE WHO WANTED TO SEE 
THE WORLD 

There was once a king who had only one son, and this 
young man tormented his father from morning till night 
to allow him to travel in far countries. For a long time 
the king refused to give him leave ; but at last, wearied 
out, he granted permission, and ordered his treasurer 
to produce a large sum of money for the prince's 
expenses. The youth was overjoyed at the thought that 
he was really going to see the world, and after tenderly 
embracing his father he set forth. 

He rode on for some weeks without meeting with any 
adventures ; but one night when he was resting at an inn, 
he came across another traveller, with whom he fell into 
conversation, in the course of which the stranger inquired 
if he never played cards. The young man replied that he 
was very fond of doing so. Cards were brought, and in a 
very short time the prince had lost every penny he 
possessed to his new acquaintance. AVhen there was 
absolutely nothing left at the bottom of the bag, the 
stranger proposed that they should have just one more 
game, and that if the prince won he should have the 
money restored to him, but in case he lost, should remain 
in the inn for three years, and besides that should be his 
servant for another three. The prince agreed to those 
terms, played, and lost; so the stranger took rooms for 
him, and furnished him with bread and water every day 
for three years. 

The prince lamented his lot, but it was no use ; and 
at the end of three years he was released and had to 
go to the house of the stranger, who was really the kins; 

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TO SEE THE WORLD 



357 



of a neighbouring country, and be his servant. Before 
he had gone very far he met a woman carrying a child, 
which was crying from hunger. The prince took it from 




I 



She '"'Prince feeds the baby 



her, and fed it with his last crust of bread and last drop of 
water, and then gave it back to its mother. The woman 
thanked him gratefully, and said : 



358 THE PRINCE WHO WANTED 

1 Listen, my lord. You must walk straight on till you 
notice a very strong scent, which comes from a garden by 
the side of the road. Go in and hide yourself close to a 
tank, where three doves will come to bathe. As the last one 
flies past you, catch hold of its robe of feathers, and refuse 
to give it back till the dove has promised you three things.' 

The young man did as he was told, and everything 
happened as the woman had said. He took the robe 
of feathers from the dove, who gave him in exchange 
for it a ring, a collar, and one of its own plumes, saying : 
k When you are in any trouble, cry " Come to my aid, O 
dove ! " I am the daughter of the king you are going to 
serve, who hates your father and made you gamble in 
order to cause your ruin.' 

Thus the prince went on his way, and in course of 
time he arrived at the king's palace. As soon as his 
master knew he was there, the young man was sent for 
into his presence, and three bags were handed to him with 
these words : 

( Take this wheat, this millet, and this barley, and 
sow them at once, so that I may have loaves of them all 
to-morrow.' 

The prince stood speechless at this command, but the 
king did not condescend to give any further explanation, 
and when he was dismissed the young man flew to the 
room which had been set aside for him, and pulling out 
his feather, he cried : ' Dove, dove ! be quick and come.' 

1 What is it? ' said the dove, flying in through the open 
window, and the prince told her of the task before him, 
and of his despair at being unable to accomplish it. 'Fear 
nothing ; it will be all right,' replied the dove, as she flew 
away again. 

The next morning when the prince awoke he saw the 
three loaves standing beside his bed. He jumped up and 
dressed, and he was scarcely ready when a page arrived 
with the message that he was to go at once into the 
king's chamber. Taking the loaves in his arm he 



TO SEE THE WORLD 



359 



followed the boy, and, bowing low, laid them down 
before the king. The monarch looked at the loaves for a 
moment without speaking, then he said : 

1 Good. The man who can do this can also find the 
ring which my eldest daughter dropped into the sea/ 




The prince hastened back to his room and summoned 
the dove, and when she heard this new command she 
said: ' Now listen. To-morrow take a knife and a basin 
and go down to the shore and get into a boat you will 
find there.' 

The young man did not know what he was to do 
when he was in the boat or where he was to go, but as 



360 THE PRINCE WHO WANTED 

the dove had come to his rescue before, he was ready to 
obey her blindly. 

When he reached the boat he found the dove perched 
on one of the masts, and at a signal from her he put to 
sea ; the wind was behind them and they soon lost sight 
of land. The dove then spoke for the first time and said, 
6 Take that knife and cut off my head, but be careful that 
not a single drop of blood falls to the ground. Afterwards 
you must throw it into the sea.' 

Wondering at this strange order, the prince picked up 
his knife and severed the dove's head from her body at 
one stroke. A little while after a dove rose from the 
water with a ring in its beak, and laying it in the prince's 
hand, dabbled itself with the blood that was in the basin, 
when its head became that of a beautiful girl. Another 
moment and it had vanished completely, and the prince 
took the ring and made his way back to the palace. 

The king stared with surprise at the sight of the ring, 
but he thought of another way of getting rid of the 
young man which was surer even than the other two. 

4 This evening you will mount my colt and ride him 
to the field, and break him in properly/ 

The prince received this command as silently as he 
had received the rest, but no sooner was he in his room 
than he called for the dove, who said: 'Attend tome. 
My father longs to see you dead, and thinks he will kill 
you by this means. He himself is the colt, my mother 
is the saddle, my two sisters are the stirrups, and I am the 
bridle. Do not forget to take a good club, to help you in 
dealing with such a crew.' 

So the prince mounted the colt, and gave him such 
a beating that when he came to the palace to announce 
that the animal was now so meek that it could be ridden by 
the smallest child, he found the king so bruised that he 
had to be wrapped in cloths dipped in vinegar, the mother 
was too stiff to move, and several of the daughters' ribs 
were broken. The youngest, however, was quite un- 



TO SEE THE WORLD 361 

harmed. That night she came to the prince and whis- 
pered to him : 

1 Now that they are all in too much pain to move, we 
had better seize our chance and run away. Go to the 
stable and saddle the leanest horse } T ou can find there. 1 
But the prince was foolish enough to choose the fattest: 
and when they had started and the princess saw what he 
had done, she was very sorry, for though this horse ran 
like the wind, the other flashed like thought. However, 
it was dangerous to go back, and they rode on as fast as 
the horse would go. 

In the night the king sent for his youngest daughter, 
and as she did not come he sent again ; but she did not 
come any the more for that. The queen, who was a witch, 
discovered that her daughter had gone off with the prince, 
and told her husband he must leave his bed and go after 
them. The king got slowly up, groaning with pain, and 
dragged himself to the stables, where he saw the lean 
horse still in his stall. 

Leaping on his back he shook the reins, and his 
daughter, who knew what to expect and had her eyes 
open, saw the horse start forward, and in the twinkling of 
an eye changed her own steed into a cell, the prince into 
a hermit, and herself into a nun. 

When the king reached the chapel, he pulled up his 
horse and asked if a girl and a young man had passed 
that way. The hermit raised his eyes, which were bent 
on the ground, and said that he had not seen a living 
creature. The king, much disgusted at this news, and 
not knowing what to do, returned home and told his wife 
that, though he had ridden for miles, he had come across 
nothing but a hermit and a nun in a cell. 

' Why those were the runaways, of course/ she cried, 
flying into a passion, ' and if you had only brought a scrap 
of the nun's dress, or a bit of stone from the wall, I should 
have had them in my power.' 

At these words the king hastened back to the stable, and 



3G2 THE PRINCE WHO WANTED 

brought out the lean horse who travelled quicker than 
thought. But his daughter saw him coming, and changed 
her horse into a plot of ground, herself into a rose-tree 
covered with roses, and the prince into a gardener. As the 
king rode up, the gardener looked up from the tree which 
he was trimming and asked if anything was the matter. 
1 Have you seen a young man and a girl go by ? ' said the 
king, and the gardener shook his head and replied that no 
one had passed that way since he had been working there. 
So the king turned his steps homewards and told his wife. 

' Idiot ! ' cried she, fc if you had only brought me one of 
the roses, or a handful of earth, I should have had them 
in my power. But there is no time to waste. I shall 
have to go with you myself.' 

The girl saw them from afar, and a great fear fell on 
her, for she knew her mother's skill in magic of all kinds. 
However, she determined to fight to the end, and changed 
the horse into a deep pool, herself into an eel, and the 
prince into a turtle. But it was no use. Her mother 
recognised them all, and, pulling up, asked her daughter 
if she did not repent and would not like to come home 
again. The eel wagged 'No ' with her tail, and the queen 
told her husband to put a drop of water from the pool 
into a bottle, because it was only by that means that 
she could seize hold of her daughter. The king did as 
he was bid, and was just in the act of drawing the bottle 
out of the water after he had filled it, when the turtle 
knocked against and spilt it all. The king then filled it 
a second time, but again the turtle was too quick for him. 

The queen saw that she was beaten, and called down 
a curse on her daughter that the prince should forget all 
about her. After having relieved her feelings in this 
manner, she and the king went back to the palace. 

The others resumed their proper shapes and continued 
their journey, but the princess was so silent that at last 
the prince asked her what was the matter. ; It is because 
I know you will soon forget all about me/ said she, and 



TO SEE THE WORLD 363 

though he laughed at her and told her it was impossible, 
she did not cease to believe it. 

They rode on and on and on, till they reached the 
end of the world, where the prince lived, and leaving the 
girl in an inn he went himself to the palace to ask leave 
of his father to present her to him as his bride ; but in 
his joy at seeing his family once more he forgot all about 
her, and even listened when the king spoke of arranging 
a marriage for him. 

When the poor girl heard this she wept bitterly, and 
cried out, ' Come to me, my sisters, for I need you badly! ' 

In a moment they stood beside her, and the elder 
one said, c Do not be sad, all will go well,' and they told 
the innkeeper that if any of the king's servants wanted 
any birds for their master they were to be sent up to 
them, as they had three doves for sale. 

And so it fell out, and as the doves were very beautiful 
the servant bought them for the king, who admired them 
so much that he called his son to look at them. The 
prince was much pleased with the doves and was 
coaxing them to come to him, when one fluttered on 
to the top of the window and said, ' If you could only 
hear us speak, you would admire us still more.' 

And another perched on a table and added, l Talk 
awa} T , it might help him to remember ! ' 

And the third flew on his shoulder and whispered to 
him, 'Put on this ring, prince, and see if it fits you.' 

And it did. Then they hung a collar round his neck, 
and held a feather on which was written the name of the 
dove. And at last his memory came back to him, and he 
declared he would marry the princess and nobody else. 
So the next day the wedding took place, and they lived 
happy till they died. 

[ From the Portuguese.] 

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364 



VIRGILIUS THE SORCERER 

Long, long ago there was born to a Roman knight 
and his wife Maja a little boy called Virgilins. While he 
was still quite little, his father died, and the kinsmen, 
instead of being a help and protection to the child and his 
mother, robbed them of their lands and money, and the 
widow, fearing that they might take the boy's life also, 
sent him away to Spain, that he might study in the great 
University of Toledo. 

Virgilius was fond of books, and pored over them all 
day long. But one afternoon, when the boys were given 
a holiday, he took a long walk, and found himself in a 
place where he had never been before. In front of him 
was a cave, and, as no boy ever sees a cave without 
entering it, he went in. The cave was so deep that it 
seemed to Virgilius as if it must run far into the heart of 
the mountain, and he thought he would like to see if it 
came out anywhere on the other side. For some time he 
walked on in pitch darkness, but he went steadily on, and 
by-and-by a glimmer of light shot across the floor, and 
he heard a voice calling, ' Virgilius! Virgilius ! ' 

' Who calls?' he asked, stopping and looking round. 

' Virgilius!' answered the voice, 'do you mark upon 
the ground where you are standing a slide or bolt?' 

' I do,' replied Virgilius. 

' Then/ said the voice, ' draw back that bolt, and set 
me free.' 

k But who are you?' asked Virgilius, who never did 
anything in a hurry, j zec jj by MicmSOl 



VIRGILIUS THE SORCERER 365 

' I am an evil spirit,' said the voice, ' shut up here till 
Doomsday, unless a man sets me free. If yon will let me 
out I will give you some magic books, which will make 
you wiser than any other man.' 

Now Virgilius loved wisdom, and was tempted by these 
promises, but again his prudence came to his aid, and he 
demanded that the books should be handed over to him 
first, and that he should be told how to use them. The 
evil spirit, unable to help itself, did as Virgilius bade him, 
and then the bolt was drawn back. Underneath was a 
small hole, and out of this the evil spirit gradually 
wriggled himself ; but it took some time, for when at last 
he stood upon the ground he proved to be about three times 
as large as Virgilius himself, and coal black besides. 

4 Why, you can't have been as big as that when you 
were in the hole ! ' cried Virgilius. 

4 But I was ! ' replied the spirit. 

' I clon't believe it ! ' answered Virgilius. 

' Well, I'll just get in and show you,' said the spirit, 
and after turning and twisting, and curling himself up, then 
he lay neatly packed into the hole. Then Virgilius drew 
the bolt, and, picking the books up under his arm, he left 
the cave. 

For the next few weeks Virgilius hardly ate or slept, 
so busy was he in learning the magic the books contained. 
But at the end of that time a messenger from his mother 
arrived in Toledo, begging him to come at once to Rome, 
as she had been ill, and could look after their affairs no 
longer. 

Though sorry to leave Toledo, where he was much 
thought of as showing promise of great learning, Virgilius 
would willingly have set out at once, but there were 
many things he had first to see to. So he entrusted to 
the messenger four pack-horses laden with precious 
things, and a white palfrey on which she was to ride out 
every day. Then he set about his own preparations, and, 
followed by a large train of scholars, he at length started 



366 VIRQILIUS THE SORCERER 

for Rome, from which he had been absent twelve 
years. 

His mother welcomed him back with tears in her 
eyes, and his poor kinsmen pressed round him, but the 
rich ones kept away, for they feared that they would no 
longer be able to rob their kinsman as they had done for 
many years past. Of course, Virgilius paid no attention 
to this behaviour, though he noticed they looked with 
envy on the rich presents he bestowed on the poorer 
relations and on anyone who had been kind to his 
mother. 

Soon after this had happened the season of tax-gathering 
came round, and everyone who owned land was bound 
to present himself before the emperor. Like the rest, 
Virgilius went to court, and demanded justice from the 
emperor against the men who had robbed him. But as 
these were kinsmen to the emperor he gained nothing, 
as the emperor told him he would think over the matter 
for the next four years, and then give judgment. This 
reply naturally did not satisfy Virgilius, and, turning on 
his heel, he w T ent back to his own home, and, gathering 
in his harvest, he stored it up in his various houses. 

When the enemies of Virgilius heard of this, they 
assembled together and laid siege to his castle. But 
Virgilius was a match for them. Coming forth from the 
castle so as to meet them face to face, he cast a spell over 
them of such power that they could not move, and then 
bade them defiance. After which he lifted the spell, and 
the invading army slunk back to Rome, and reported 
what Virgilius had said to the emperor. 

Now the emperor was accustomed to have his lightest 
word obeyed, almost before it was uttered, and he hardly 
knew how to believe his ears. But he got together 
another army, and marched straight off to the castle. 
But directly they took up their position Virgilius girded 
them about with a great river, so that they could neither 
move hand nor foot, then, hailing the emperor, he offered 

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VIRGILIUS THE SORCERER 369 

him peace, and asked for his friendship. The emperor, 
however, was too angry to listen to anything, so Virgilius, 
whose patience was exhausted, feasted his own followers 
in the presence of the starving host, who could not stir 
hand or foot. 

Things seemed getting desperate, when a magician 
arrived in the camp and offered to sell his services to the 
emperor. His proposals were gladly accepted, and in a 
moment the whole of the garrison sank down as if they 
were dead, and Virgilius himself had much ado to keep 
awake. He did not know how to fight the magician, but 
with a great effort struggled to open his Black Book, 
which told him what spells to use. In an instant all his 
foes seemed turned to stone, and where each man was 
there he stayed. Some were half way up the ladders, 
some had one foot over the wall, but wherever they might 
chance to be there every man remained, even the 
emperor and his sorcerer. All day they stayed there like 
flies upon the wall, but during the night Virgilius stole 
softly to the emperor, and offered him his freedom, as 
long as he would do him justice. The emperor, who by 
this time was thoroughly frightened, said he would agree 
to anything Virgilius desired. So Virgilius took off his 
spells, and, after feasting the army and bestowing on 
every man a gift, bade them return to Rome. And more 
than that, he built a square tower for the emperor, and in 
each corner all that was said in that quarter of the city 
might be heard, while if you stood in the centre every 
whisper throughout Rome would reach your ears. 

Having settled his affairs with the emperor and his 
enemies, Virgilius had time to think of other things, and 
his first act was to fall in love ! The lady's name was 
Febilla, and her family was noble, and her face fairer 
than any in Rome, but she only mocked Virgilius, and 
was always playing tricks upon him. To this end, she 
bade him one day come to visit her in the tower where 
she lived, promising to let down a basket to draw him up 

24 



370 VIRGILIUS THE SORCERER 

as far as the roof. Virgilius was enchanted at this quite 
unexpected favour, and stepped with glee into the basket. 
Jt was drawn up very slowly, and by-ancl-by came 
altogether to a standstill, while from above rang the 
voice of Febilla crying, ' Rogue of a sorcerer, there shalt 
thou hang ! ' And there he hung over the market-place, 
which was soon thronged with people, who made fun of 
him till he was mad with rage. At last the emperor, 
hearing of his plight, commanded Febilla to release him, 
and Virgilius went home vowing vengeance. 

The next morning every fire in Rome went out, and 
as there were no matches in those days this was a very 
serious matter. The emperor, guessing that this was the. 
work of Virgilius, besought him to break the spell. Then 
Virgilius ordered a scaffold to be erected in the market- 
place, and Febilla to be brought clothed in a single white 
garment. And further, he bade every one to snatch fire 
from the maiden, and to suffer no neighbour to kindle it. 
And when the maiden appeared, clad in her white sinock, 
flames of fire curled about her, and the Romans brought 
some torches, and some straw, and some shavings, and 
fires were kindled in Rome again. 

For three days she stood there, till every hearth in 
Rome was alight, and then she was suffered to go where 
she would. 

But the emperor was wroth at the vengeance of 
Virgilius, and threw him into prison, vowing that he 
should be put to death. And when everything was ready 
he was led out to the Viminal Hill, where he was to die. 

He went quietly with his guards, but the day was 
hot, and on reaching his place of execution he begged 
for some water. A pail was brought, and he, crying 
' Emperor, all hail ! seek for me in Sicily,' jumped 
headlong into the pail, and vanished from their sight. 

For some time we hear no more of Virgilius, or how 
he made his peace with the emperor, but the next event 
in his history was his being sent for to the palace to give 
the emperor advice how to guard Rome from foes within 




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V1RQILIUS THE SOECEJIEU 373 

as well as foes without. Virgilius spent many days in 
deep thought, and at length invented a plan which was 
known to all as the ; Preservation of Rome.' 

On the roof of the Capitol, which was the most famous 
public building in the city, he set up statues representing 
the gods worshipped by every nation subject to Rome, 
and in the middle stood the god of Rome herself. Each 
of the conquered gods held in its hand a bell, and if there 
was even a thought of treason in any of the countries 
its god turned its back upon the god of Rome and rang its 
bell furiously, and the senators came hurrying to see who 
was rebelling against the majesty of the empire. Then 
they made ready their armies, and marched against the foe. 

Now there was a country which had long felt bitter 
jealousy of Rome, and was anxious for some way of 
bringing about its destruction. So the people chose three 
men who could be trusted, and, loading them with money, 
sent them to Rome, bidding them to pretend that they 
were diviners of dreams. No sooner had the messengers 
reached the city than they stole out at night and buried a 
pot of gold far down in the earth, and let down another into 
the bed of the Tiber, just where a bridge spans the river. 

Next day they went to the senate house, where the 
laws were made, and, bowing low, they said, ' Oh, noble 
lords, last night we dreamed that beneath the foot of a 
hill there lies buried a pot of gold. Have we your leave 
to dig for it?' And leave having been given, the mes- 
sengers took workmen and dug up the gold and made 
merry with it. 

A few days later the diviners again appeared before 
the senate, and said, ' Oh, noble lords, grant us leave to 
seek out another treasure, which has been revealed to us 
in a dream as lying under the bridge over the river.' 

And the senators gave leave, and the messengers hired 
boats and men, and let down ropes with hooks, and at 
length drew up the pot of gold, some of which they gave 
as presents to the senators. 



374 VIBGIL1US THE SORCERER 

A week or two passed by, and once more they 
appeared in the senate house, 

4 O, noble lords ! ' said they, ' last night in a vision we 
beheld twelve casks of gold lying under the foundation 
stone of the Capitol, on which stands the statue of the 
Preservation of Rome. Now, seeing that by your good- 
ness we have been greatly enriched by our former 
dreams, we wish, in gratitude, to bestow this third 
treasure on you for your own profit; so give us workers, 
and we will begin to dig without delay.' 

And receiving permission they began to dig, and when 
the messengers had almost undermined the Capitol they 
stole away as secretly as they had come. 

And next morning the stone gave way, and the sacred 
statue fell on its face and was broken. And the senators 
knew T that their greed had been their ruin. 

From that day things went from bad to worse, and 
every morning crowds presented themselves before the 
emperor, complaining of the robberies, murders, and 
other crimes that were committed nightly in the streets, 

The emperor, desiring nothing so much as the 
safety of his subjects, took counsel with Yirgilius how 
this violence could be put down. 

Virgilius thought hard for a long time, and then he 
spoke : 

'Great prince,' said he, * cause a copper horse and 
rider to be made, and stationed in front of the Capitol. 
Then make a proclamation that at ten o'clock a bell will toll, 
and every man is to enter his house, and not leave it again.' 

The emperor did as Yirgilius advised, but thieves 
and murderers laughed at the horse, and went about 
their misdeeds as usual. 

But at the last stroke of the bell the horse set off 
at full gallop through the streets of Rome, and by 
daylight men counted over two hundred corpses 
that it had trodden down. The rest of the thieves — 
and there were still many remaining — instead of being 



VIRGILIVS THE SORCERER 



375 



frightened into honesty, as Virgilius had hoped, prepared 
rope ladders with hooks to them, and when they heard 
the sound of the horse's hoofs they stuck their ladders 




into the walls, and climbed up above the reach of the 
horse and its rider. 

Then the emperor commanded two copper dogs to be 
made that would run after the horse, and when the 



376 VIRGILIUS THE SORCERER 

thieves, hanging from the walls, mocked and jeered at 
Virgilius stad the emperor, the dogs leaped high after them 
and pulled them to the ground, and bit them to death. 

Thus did Virgilius restore peace and order to the city. 

Now about this time there came to be noised abroad 
the fame of the daughter of the sultan who ruled over the 
province of Babylon, and indeed she was said to be the 
most beautiful princess in the world. 

Virgilius, like the rest, listened to the stories that were 
told of her, and fell so violently in love with all he heard 
that he built a bridge in the air, which stretched all the way 
between Rome and Babylon. He then passed over it to visit 
the princess, who, though somewhat surprised to see him, 
gave him welcome, and after some conversation became 
in her turn anxious to see the distant country where this 
stranger lived, and he promised that he would carry her 
there himself, without wetting the soles of his feet. 

The princess spent some days in the palace of Virgi- 
lius, looking at wonders of which she had never dreamed, 
though she declined to accept the presents he longed to 
heap on her. The hours passed as if they were 
minutes, till the princess said that she could be no 
longer absent from her father. Then Virgilius conducted 
her himself over the airy bridge, and laid her gently down 
on her own bed, where she was found next morning by 
her father. 

She told him all that had happened to her, and he pre- 
tended to be very much interested, and begged that the 
next time Virgilius came he might be introduced to him. 

Soon after, the sultan received a message from his 
daughter that the stranger was there, and he commanded 
that a feast should be made ready, and, sending for the 
princess delivered into her hands a cup, which he said 
she was to present to Virgilius herself, in order to do him 
honour. 

When they were all seated at the feast the princess 
rose and presented the cup to VirgiHus, who directly he 
had drunk fell into a deep sleep. 




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VIRGILIUS THE SORCERER 3VJ 

Then the sultan ordered his guards to bind him, and 
left him there till the following day. 

Directly the sultan was up he summoned his lords 
and nobles into his great hall, and commanded that the 
cords which bound Virgilius should be taken off, and the 
prisoner brought before him. The moment he appeared 
the sultan's passion broke forth, and he accused his 
captive of the crime of conveying the princess into distant 
lands without his leave. 

Virgilius replied that if he had taken her away he 
had also brought her back, when he might have kept her, 
and that if they would set him free to return to his own 
land he would come hither no more. 

' Not so ! ' cried the sultan, ; but a shameful death you 
shall die ! ' And the princess fell on her knees, and 
begged she might die with him. 

k You are out in your reckoning, Sir Sultan ! ' said 
Virgilius, whose patience was at an end, and he cast a 
spell over the sultan and his lords, so that they believed 
that the great river of Babylon was flowing through the 
hall, and that they must swim for their lives. So, leav- 
ing them to plunge and leap like frogs and fishes, 
Virgilius took the princess in his arms, and carried her 
over the airy bridge back to Rome. 

Now Virgilius did not think that either his palace, or 
even Rome itself, was good enough to contain such a 
pearl as the princess, so he built her a city whose 
foundations stood upon eggs, buried far away clown in 
the depths of the sea. And in the city was a square 
tower, and on the roof of the tower was a rod of iron, 
and across the rod he laid a bottle, and on the bottle he 
placed an egg, and from the egg there hung chained an 
apple, which hangs there to this day. And when the egg 
shakes the city quakes, and when the egg shall be 
broken the city shall be destroyed. And the city 
Virgilius filled full of wonders, such as never were seen 
before, and he called its name Naples. 

[Adapted f • om ' Virgilius the Sorcerer.'] 



380 



MOGARZEA AND HIS SON 

There was once a little boy, whose father and mother, 
when they were ctying, left him to the care of a guardian. 
But the guardian whom they chose turned out to be a 
wicked man, and spent all the money, so the boy deter- 
mined to go awaj T and strike out a path for himself. 

So one day he set off, and walked and walked through 
woods and meadows till when evening came he was very 
tired, and did not know where to sleep. He climbed a 
hill and looked about him to see if there was no light 
shining from a window. At first all seemed dark, but at 
length he noticed a tiny spark far, far off, and, plucking 
up his spirits, he at once went in search of it. 

The night was nearly half over before he reached the 
spark, which turned out to be a big fire, and by the fire a 
man was sleeping who was so tall he might have been a 
giant. The boy hesitated for a moment what he should 
do ; then he crept close up to the man, and lay down by 
his legs. 

When the man awoke in the morning he was much 
surprised to find the boy nestling up close to him. 

' Dear me ! where do you come from ? ' said he. 

1 1 am your son, born in the night/ replied the boy. 

4 If that is true,' said the man, ' you shall take care of 
my sheep, and I will give you food. But take care you 
never cross the border of my laud, or you will repent it.' 
Then he pointed out where the border of his land lay, and 
bade the boy begin his work at once. 

The young shepherd led his flock out to the richest 



MOGABZEA AND HIS SON 



381 



meadows and stayed with them till evening, when he 
brought them back, and helped the man to milk them. 
When this was done, they both sat down to supper, and 
while they were eating the boy asked the big man : 
4 What is your name, father? ' 




' Mogarzea/ answered he. 

4 I wonder you are not tired of living by yourself in 
this lonely place.' 

< There is no reason you should wonder! Don't you 
know that there was never a bear yet who danced of his 
own free will?' 



382 MOGARZEA AND HIS SON 

'Yes, that is true/ replied the boy. ' But why is it 
you are always so sad? Tell me your history, father/ 

4 What is the use of my telling you things that would 
only make you sad too? ' 

' Oh, never mind that ! I should like to hear. Are 
you not my father, and am I not your son ? '. 

' Well, if you really want to know my story, this is it : 
As I told you, my name is Mogarzea, and my father is 
an emperor. I was on my way to the Sweet Milk Lake, 
which lies not far from here, to marry one of the three 
fairies who have made the lake their home. But on the 
road three wicked elves fell on me, and robbed me of 
my soul, so that ever since I have stayed in this spot 
watching my sheep without wishing for anything 
different, without having felt one moment's joy, or ever 
once being able to laugh. And the horrible elves are so 
ill-natured that if anyone sets one foot on their land he 
is instantly punished. That is why I warn you to be 
careful, lest you should share my fate.' 

' All right, I will take great care. Do let me go, father/ 
said the boy, as they stretched themselves out to sleep. 

At sunrise the boy got up and led his sheep out to 
feed, and for some reason he did not feel tempted to cross 
into the grassy meadows belonging to the elves, but let his 
flock pick up what pasture they could on Mogarzea's dry 
ground. 

On the third day he was sitting under the shadow of 
a tree, playing on his flute — and there was nobody in the 
world who could play a flute better — when one of his 
sheep strayed across the fence into the flowery fields of the 
elves, and another and another followed it. But the boy 
was so absorbed in his flute that he noticed nothing till 
half the flock were on the other side. 

He jumped up, still playing on his flute, and went 
after the sheep, meaning to drive them back to their ow T n 
side of the border, when suddenly he saw before him three 
beautiful maidens who stopped in front of him, and began 



MOGARZEA AND HIS SON 



383 



to dance. The boy understood what he must do, and 
played with all his might, but the maidens danced on till 
evening;. 




' Now let me go,' he cried at last, ' for poor Mogarzea 
must be dying of hunger. I will come and play for you 
to-morrow. ' 



384 MOGARZEA AND HIS SON 

4 Well, you may go! ' they said, ' but remember that 
even if you break your promise you will not escape us.' 

So they both agreed that the next day he should 
eome straight there with the sheep, and play to them till 
the sun went down. This being settled, they each re- 
turned home. 

^togarzea was surprised to find that his sheep gave so 
much more milk than usual, but as the boy declared he 
had never crossed the border the big man did not trouble 
his head further, and ate his supper heartily. 

With the earliest gleams of light, the boy was off 
with his sheep to the elfin meadow, and at the first notes 
of his flute the maidens appeared before him and danced 
and danced and danced till evening came. Then the boy 
let the flute slip through his fingers, and trod on it, as 
if by accident. 

If you had heard the noise he made, and how he 
wrung his hands and wept and cried that he had lost his 
only companion, you would have been sorry for him. 
The hearts of the elves were quite melted, and they did 
all they could to comfort him. 

'I shall never find another flute like that,' moaned he. 
4 1 have never heard one whose tone was as sweet as 
mine! It was cut from the centre of a seven-year-old 
cherry tree ! ' 

i Tfhere is a cherry tree in our garden that is exactly 
seven years old,' said they. ' Come with us, and you shall 
make yourself another flute.' 

$6 they all went to the cherry tree, and when they 
were standing round it the youth explained that if he 
tried to cut it down with an axe he might very likely 
split open the heart of the tree, which was needed for the 
flute. In order to prevent this, he would make a little 
cut in the bark, just large enough for them to put their 
fingers in, and with this help he could manage to tear 
the tree in two, so that the heart should run no risk of 
damage. The elves did as he told them without a 




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MOGARZEA AND HIS SON 387 

thought; then he quickly drew out the axe, which had 
been sticking into the cleft and behold ! all their fingers 
were imprisoned tight in the tree. 

It was in vain that they shrieked with pain and tried 
to free themselves. They could do nothing, and the young 
man remained cold as marble to all their entreaties. 

Then he demanded of them Mogarzea's soul. 

' Oh, well, if you must have it, it is in a bottle on the 
window sill,' said they, hoping that they might obtain 
their freedom at once. But they were mistaken. 

' Yon have made so many men suffer,' answered he 
sternly, ' that it is but just you should suffer yourselves, 
but to-morrow I will let you go.' And he turned towards 
home, taking his sheep and the soul of Mogarzea with 
him. 

Mogarzea was waiting at the door, and as the boy 
drew near he began scolding him for being so late. But at 
the first word of explanation the man became beside himself 
with joy, and he sprang so high into the air that the false 
soul which the elves had given him Hew out of his 
mouth, and his own, which had been shut tightly into the 
Mask of water, took its place. 

When his excitement had somewhat calmed down, he 
cried to the boy, ' Whether you are really my son matters 
nothing to me; tell me, how can I repay you for what 
you have done for me?' 

1 By showing me where the Milk Lake is, and how I can 
get one of the three fairies who lives there to wife, and 
by letting me remain your son for ever.' 

The night was passed by Mogarzea and his son in 
songs and feasting, for both were too happy to sleep, and 
when day dawned they set out together to free the elves 
from the tree. When they reached the place of their 
imprisonment, Mogarzea took the cherry tree and all the 
elves with it on his back, and carried them off to his 
father's kingdom, where every one rejoiced to see him 



388 MOGARZEA AND HIS SON 

home again. But all he did was to point to the boy who 
had saved him, and had followed him with his flock. 

For three days the boy stayed in the palace, receiving 
the thanks and praises of the whole court. Then he said 
to Mogarzea : 

' The time has come for me to go hence, but tell me, I 
pray you, how to find the Sweet Milk Lake, and I will 
return, and will bring my wife back with me.' 

Mogarzea tried in vain to make him stay, but, finding 
it was useless, he told him all he knew, for he himself 
had never seen the lake. 

For three summer days the boy and his flute journeyed 
on, till one evening he reached the lake, which lay in the 
kingdom of a powerful fairy. The next morning had 
scarcely dawned when the youth went down to the shore, 
and began to play on his flute, and the first notes had 
hardly souuded when he saw a beautiful fairy standing 
before him, with hair and robes that shone like gold. He 
gazed at her in wonder, when suddenly she began to 
dance. Her movements were so graceful that he forgot 
to play, and as soon as the notes of his flute ceased she 
vanished from his sight. The nest day the same thing 
happened, but on the third he took courage, and drew a 
little nearer, playing on his flute all the while. Suddenly 
he sprang forward, seized her in his arms and kissed her, 
and plucked a rose from her hair. 

The fairy gave a cry, and begged him to give her back 
her rose, but he would not. He only stuck the rose in 
his hat, and turned a deaf ear to all her prayers. 

At last she saw that her entreaties were vain, and 
agreed to marry him, as he wished. And they went 
together to the palace, where Mogarzea was still waiting 
for him, and the marriage was celebrated by Mogarzea 
himself. But every May they returned to the Milk Lake, 
they and their children, and bathed in its waters. 



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